According to The Guardian Australia, the nurse – who requested to remain anonymous – said that she was “furious” at the “snail’s pace” of the vaccine rollout around the country.
“During one eight-hour shift, I gave just one vaccine, and I came out afterwards just fuming,” she told The Guardian Australia.
Comparing the rate of vaccine uptake to places like the UK and the US, where people are lining up out of the door to receive their vaccine doses at clinics and centres, she described the incredible differences between the approaches.
According to the anonymous nurse, the issue has nothing to do with vaccine availability, telling The Guardian Australia that there are more than enough available doses. Rather, the rate of people coming through the doors is what is causing the issues.
Naming issues like the centre being poorly advertised and difficult to see from the street, to the public fears and trepidations regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine, and the increasing complacency of Australians due to low case numbers, has meant that the flow into vaccine centres is so slow that people without appointments, and even those who don’t strictly fall into an eligible group, are able to walk in and get vaccinated.
“I’ve brought in friends in their 60s or 50s who are usually intelligent people, but who are reading so much misinformed rubbish about the AstraZeneca vaccine, and it means they are reluctant to get vaccinated. I had the AstraZeneca vaccination myself because I don’t want to recommend a vaccine I am not prepared to get, and it was fine, it’s a good vaccine.
“But I feel like not enough is being done to educate people about it.”
This misinformation is another reason why the nurse believes people aren’t arriving for their vaccines.
A number of Pfizer vaccines are expected to be delivered in the next few weeks. However, they have been instructed that these doses are strictly for those under 50.
“It won’t help those older people who are spooked by the AstraZeneca vaccine,” she said.
While the hub she works at is careful to not waste vaccine doses, she said that they may be better used at GP offices where people are struggling to get doses.
The anonymous nurse said she felt that in the hands of their GP, older people may be more likely to get the vaccine, where they can discuss their options with someone who knows their medical background.
Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison defended the rollout, announcing that roughly 85% of aged care facilities had received the vaccine.
He also commented that he was pleased with the progress made, particularly on Saturday, which at 30,000 doses administered, was a record day for Saturday vaccinations.
“We had a particularly good progress in aged care facilities. We are through about 85% of those now and are on track in completing that to the timetable.”
While Victoria had its biggest single day of vaccinations on Monday – with roughly 9,000 vaccine doses through state-run centres and over 13,000 booking hotline calls – it’s said that this has been a more recent pick up since numbers dwindled following the Australian Technical Advisory Group (TGA) on Immunisation’s advice making Pfizer the preferred vaccine for those under 50.
Currently, there are over 30 open-access vaccination centres in Victoria, with more slated to open each week.
With the Australian government’s securing of 15 million ‘booster shots’ of the Moderna vaccine, healthcare professionals are hoping that as more people become eligible, and more people receive their shots, the numbers of people rolling up their sleeves will continue to increase.
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