‘It’s a good thing’: the kids booked for their first COVID-19 jabs

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There are a few nerves before she gets her first COVID-19 vaccine, but the good side, says Marlie Sinclair, 11, is it will allow her to not fear getting sick as much.

The grade 5 student, from Hurstbridge, said she will feel better about going to school and to the shops, once she has the jab on Monday, the first day children aged five to 11 are eligible for the vaccine.

Nervous but happy: Marlie Sinclair, 11, right, pictured with her parents and four brothers, is due for her first COVID-19 vaccination on Monday. Credit:Meredith O’Shea

Marlie’s mother Melissa Sinclair said she booked Marlie’s vaccination as soon as the federal health authorities gave their approval for the age group last month, and easily got an appointment at a local medical centre.

Mrs Sinclair, 47, her husband Paul, 52, and Marlie’s brothers Mitchell, 20, Trent, 18, Austin, 15 and Jarred, 13, have all been double vaccinated and Mrs Sinclair is keen for Marlie to follow suit.

“I guess because we’re doing our bit for society but also, she was suffering anxiety at being the only one in the house that couldn’t be vaccinated, and the rise in cases was making it worse for her,” Mrs Sinclair said.

“She was at the point of not wanting to go out.”

In early December, a classmate of Marlie’s contracted COVID-19 and Marlie had felt stressed that, at the time, she could not be vaccinated.

“It’s extremely important for us that, for her to commence the 2022 school year, she’s at least had her first vaccination,” Mrs Sinclair said.

Marlie said she was a bit nervous due to a past fear of needles, but the vaccine was “a good thing” because it reduced the chance of her infecting relatives, “and I’d maybe not have to go to hospital”.

Jacinta Middleton, 39, of Watsonia North, is looking forward to her children Thomas, 10, and Lucy, 7, being vaccinated on Monday at a local GP. She had no problem booking an appointment.

Ms Middleton, who works in hospital administration, said although some parents are worried there hasn’t been enough research on the vaccines, she has faith in medical experts.

The vaccines would protect not just her children, but the community. She had seen hospital workers overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases and vaccination could ease that.

“It will help people get less ill when they do catch it, and to help the kids return to a bit of normality, to return to school and sport.”

Beth, 42, of Beaconsfield, who did not want to give her surname, said with COVID-19 case numbers rising, she is giving her sons, age 5 and 7, “the best protection I can” by arranging their vaccinations on Monday.

Her younger son, who is about to start primary school, has a genetic airway condition making him vulnerable to complications from COVID-19.

She said there was a lot of pro and anti-vax literature around. “But at the end of the day you’ve got to weigh up the risks versus the benefits, and have trust in science.”

Karen Gerzenstein said three clinics she owns, Chelsea Heights Medical Centre, Hastings Family Medical Centre, and Warrandyte Medical Centre, are all booked out for child COVID-19 vaccines for over a month.

However, clients should check appointment availability regularly online — not by phone — because cancellations were expected due to people being infected or isolating.

She said child patients would be offered virtual reality goggles, balloon twisting, arm painting, stickers, and lollipops.

Ms Gerzenstein said the centres were currently receiving 200 doses of vaccine per fortnight, each, “with demand far exceeding supply”.

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