• John McDonnell

My experience with the vaccine

FlowNews24 Canberra correspondent John McDonnell speaks about his COVID-19 vaccination experience.


I had my Astra Zeneca anti-Covid vaccination on Wednesday. I was summoned by my GP to turn up to the surgery at 1.00 pm. When I arrived at my doctor’s rooms, I was told that I was on the priority list because I was over 70 and had type two diabetes (an occupational hazard for journalists).


When I asked how many people had been vaccinated before me, I was told they had done 20 on Tuesday and 10 on Wednesday.


I was apprehensive about receiving the vaccine because of the slightly dire warnings by ABC’s Norman Swan, who has been telling audiences that there is a definite link between the vaccine and blood clots. However, after consideration, I decided the 1 per 1 million chance of death from the vaccine was considerably less than the 1 in 25,000 chance of dying from the virus.


When I arrived at the surgery, I was given a card that set out the vaccination process, the constituents of the vaccine and the likely side effects. These included a sore arm, dizziness, lethargy, headaches and chills. The card said that these could all be treated with paracetamol and ibuprofen. The card also said that I would have to wait for 15 minutes in the waiting room after the injection so that I could be monitored.


When I went into the doctor’s room, I was asked a series of questions such as: “Are you allergic to any vaccines? Are you on blood thinners? Do you have any allergies? Have you had Covid?” Once the interview was completed, I was asked whether I had any questions. I asked whether I would be able to work in the afternoon following the injection. The doctor said he hadn’t been vaccinated yet and so had no personal experience of post-vaccine effects.


Following the injection, I came home and had a brief rest before proceeding to write this article. So far, I have had no evidence of side effects. The real test will be on Thursday when I am due to have an intensive gym session involving interval training and weights. If I make it through that then I will be confident that I have not suffered unduly from the jab.


I gather from the medical experts that the level of side effect that each person’s experience is a function of the strength of that person’s immune system. Paradoxically, the people with the strongest immune systems are the most likely to suffer a reaction to the vaccine.


As far as I could tell, the whole process was pretty seamless. The doctor told me that they had been advised they would get 50 doses this week but instead had got 100, which they would dispense by the end of the week. On this basis, they could vaccinate the whole of their practice with the first jab before they had to administer anyone with the second jab 12 weeks after the first.


On checking out I was given an appointment for the second jab on 13 June. I was also told that my jab would be recorded on my electronic medical record. I was advised I could also have a hard copy vaccination certificate.