Getting vaccinated against COVID-19: community member experience

We appreciate that many people may be confused about the process regarding the COVID vaccine and the type of experience to expect. We sat down with one of our SAMESH volunteers, Tim, who was willing to share their experience. A huge thank you to Tim for taking time to do this with us.

We would like to remind everyone that you may experience different side effects to those described below. Prior to receiving the vaccination, you should speak with the clinician regarding any pre-existing health conditions or concerns you have.

  1. SAMESH Volunteer, Tim

    What volunteer work do you do for SAMESH?

I work as a researcher and educator on the Australian AIDS Memorial Quilt project. SAMESH is custodian to a small collection of quilt blocks, and I bring the stories of the quilts to life through research and presentations.

  1. How do you feel being eligible for the vaccine?

I was really happy to learn that I was eligible. I see the vaccination program as a crucial way for our community to move toward a world beyond COVID-19. I booked in for my appointment as soon as I could.

  1. Why did you decide to get the vaccine after finding out you were eligible?

Peace of mind. In my day to day job, I work front-of-house in the tourism sector with a wide range of visitors, and I have elderly family who I visit regularly. Receiving the vaccine gives me a level of protection so I am less likely to develop severe symptoms myself and more likely to protect those around me.

  1. Please share what your experience was like getting vaccinated.

The process was as smooth as silk. I booked the appointment through the Australian Government’s vaccination portal. The website gave a list of clinics near me that were accepting bookings, and even allowed me to book the second appointment. Once booked in, I received a confirmation email with everything I needed to know.

I arrived at the clinic about 10 minutes earlier than my appointment time. The staff checked that I was booked in for both doses of the vaccine, and I only waited a few minutes before a nurse brought me in for consultation. Checking my paperwork and administering the vaccine took just a couple of minutes, and I didn’t even feel the needle! I then sat in a waiting room for 15 minutes afterwards to make sure I didn’t experience a bad reaction before I was able to return home.

The next couple of days I felt some tenderness on the vaccination site and experienced a light headache for three days afterwards, but this resolved itself and didn’t impact my schedule at all.

  1. What message do you have for other community members about getting vaccinated?

I’d encourage anyone who is able to be vaccinated to do so. It is an easy thing that we can do to help our own chances of immunity and recovery from COVID-19 and protect the vulnerable people in our lives who aren’t able to be vaccinated for health reasons.

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