Getting the jab changed my mind: we should be paid to get vaccinated

We’re sorry, this service is currently unavailable. Please try again later.

Advertisement

Opinion

Getting the jab changed my mind: we should be paid to get vaccinated

For our free coronavirus pandemic coverage, learn more here.

While overcoming my COVID-vaccine hesitancy, I researched possible side effects. This was lucky, as it meant my experience of shaking uncontrollably the night after receiving my vaccine was not a prompt for panic.

I’ve now heard experiences ranging from nothing through to more than a week in bed. I’ve also heard of others sharing my struggle with a couple of days of intense “brain fog”.

A payment could help cover the impact of missed work and lost pay for those with side effects.

A payment could help cover the impact of missed work and lost pay for those with side effects.Credit:Nick Moir

Until now, I’ve laughed at suggestions of “incentivising” people to get vaccinated. Surely our social responsibility and individual desire to open up our lives and economy is enough? Yet, I’ve changed my mind.

Though side effects might be a lottery, it seems wise to line up a few days after your appointment of minimal commitments (particularly, it seems, for a first dose of AstraZeneca and the second dose of Pfizer).

I wasn’t able to do that because a few days without commitments is a challenge for a self-employed person, so I struggled to meet deadlines amid brain fog and intense muscle aches.

A few days off is also a challenge for casual workers, single parents, carers, and those employed by a business that is on the edge of closure thanks to COVID or other disasters.

So, a payment would be a valuable mechanism for covering the impact of missed work, lost pay and alternative care arrangements. Vaccination is our way out of COVID scares and restrictions so a payment could encourage more people to overcome their hesitancy and book in.

And on the subject of side effects, are we collecting data about the personal and economic toll of vaccinating our population?

Unlike when I get my annual flu shot, I’ve had no prompt to report my COVID side-effect experience. I know it’s possible to report voluntarily but only because a relative who had severe, lengthy side effects told me. It’s not easy to do, with a range of non-user friendly TGA and state health department websites and a complete lack of clarity on how the patchy information will be used.

Advertisement
Loading

This is yet another layer of confusion around the rollout, now further complicated by the age change for Astra Zeneca v Pfizer (I agree with Wendy Tuohy that a “sorry” or a “thank you” would not go astray for people like me who are aged 50-60 who have had their first AZ jab).

Now I know first hand how common non-serious but life-affecting side effects are, I think a vaccination payment is a good idea. If we can do JobKeeper payments why not VaxGetter?

And, ideally, it would be an initial step in the creation of a local version of what most other countries have; a vaccination injury compensation scheme.

Vivienne Pearson is a freelance writer: viviennepearson.com

The Opinion newsletter is a weekly wrap of views that will challenge, champion and inform your own. Sign up here.

Most Viewed in National

Loading