Date published: 
2 June 2021
Type: 
News
Intended audience: 
General public
Top 3 news
Top 3 with Professor Michael Kidd: Eligibility, Vaccine Rollout and Restriction Change Fatigue
6:21
Read transcript

Hello Linda. Hello Michael.  And hello everybody.

My shout out today is a big thank you to everybody who has been going to get a COVID-19 test when you have symptoms of cold, or flu, or fever. It is absolutely essential that we continue to go and get tested every time we have the symptoms of a respiratory infection.

Nobody knows whether your symptoms will be COVID-19 or could be another viral illness. And the only way we know is by going to get tested, so please continue to get tested. It is incredibly important as we have seen during the outbreak currently underway in Victoria.

Also important that people are getting their flu vaccine to be protected against influenza this winter. And of course, please continue with all the usual personal hygiene habits of washing your hands, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and maintaining appropriate physical distancing, and this way we hope to keep everyone safe.

First question, how do I know if I am eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine? So, on the Australian Government Department of Health website - health.gov.au, you will find the Vaccine Eligibility Checker. And if you open the Vaccine Eligibility Checker, you can put in your details and it will tell you whether you are eligible for a vaccine right now. Or you can enter your details and you will be advised when it is your turn to start receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. The Vaccine Eligibility Checker is also linked by postcode to all those sites near to you where you can make an appointment to get COVID-19 vaccine.

Second question, why aren’t we waiting for all elderly Australians to be vaccinated before offering it to other age groups? So as you know we are rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine in Australia by priority group. And the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, ATAGI, has determined the priority groups and that is where we are rolling through. So initially we were prioritising people who were residents of aged care facilities or disability facilities, the people working on the frontline who may be at risk of coming in contact with COVID-19, people working in quarantine, on the borders, or in our healthcare services. We have then rolled out to everyone over the age of 70, and people with health care conditions that put them at increased risk of COVID-19, and a number of other occupations. And now everyone aged 50 years and above is eligible to make an appointment to go and get a COVID-19 vaccine. So please when it is your turn, please do so. We are rolling this out in phases. So as we have more and more COVID-19 vaccines available in Australia, we are able to open up to other age groups. And so, the next group which we will be opening up to will be people aged 40 years and above.

And finally, I’m feeling mentally fatigued from the constant COVID-19 restriction changes, what can I do to help myself out of this headspace? Firstly all of our lives have been turned upside down during the pandemic. And it is normal to be feeling mentally fatigued, to feel distressed, to feel anxious, even to feel depressed after we have been living with COVID-19 for such a long time. And especially for people in lockdown, and of course our thoughts this week are with people in Victoria who find themselves in lockdown once again because of the outbreak of COVID-19 in that state. So what can you do to boost your own mental health? Well of course, it is very important that you are eating a good diet, you are doing physical exercise, that you are getting a good night sleep each night, that you are doing things that you enjoy doing. But if you find that you are feeling particularly distressed, it is also important that you are reaching out for support. You may want to reach out to friends, and to loved ones to talk about how you are feeling. But also if you need to you can reach out to your GP, and of course this can be done through telehealth, or through face to face consultations. Or you can reach out to the online, or telephone mental health services. Which are available to everyone in Australia through organisations like Beyond Blue, or through the Head to Health website as well. Also, if you find yourself in lockdown, this is a time when many people start to feel very emotionally, and mentally distressed. And so it is a really important time to be reinforcing all of these messages. But also, to look at how you can take some control of your day. And so, planning things during your day, planning things that you enjoy, doing things with your family or your flatmates, the people you are on lockdown with. Having the ability to have a space where you can go and have some quiet time away from others when you need to. And if you are in other parts of Australia, and you have family or friends who are in Victoria under lockdown at the moment, please reach out to them. See if they would like to have a talk or a video call with you, and just talk to them about how they are doing, how they are coping, and what is happening in both of your lives. We are going to be in this pandemic for quite some time to come, so it is really important that were looking after our own mental health and wellbeing, but also looking after each other as well.

Thank you everybody.

Thank you Linda. Thank you Michael.

Top 3 questions

1. How do I know if I am eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

2. Why aren’t we waiting for all elderly Australians to be vaccinated before offering it to other age groups?

3. I’m feeling mentally fatigued from the constant COVID-19 restriction changes, what can I do to help myself out of this headspace?