COVID-19 vaccination – Mary G interview with David Pigram

In this radio interview, Mary G speaks with David Pigram, member of 'The Pigram Brothers' and Kimberley Regional Aboriginal Health Consultant, asking questions about the dangers of COVID-19 coming to Western Australia, and how to best encourage everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine.


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Mary G: Yes, David Pilgrim is a member of the Pigram brothers mind you very well-known band especially in Broome, and throughout the Kimberley. David has also had a long career working in health mind you doing many, many different roles. Of course, in the studio now is David Pigram himself, mind you. What a privilege to be talking to a Pigram brother darling.

David Pigram: Oh, how ya going, Mary?

M: Ah, I've always had my eye on Steven, but you will do.

D: I’m more handsome.

M: I know, you younger too. David, you've had a long career working in health, in particular, working with men's health and wellbeing. What does your current job involve now?

D: I’m a regional Aboriginal Health Consultant cluster WACHS Kimberley. And I sit on the regional executive team and look at governance and leadership for Aboriginal people and staff across the Kimberley. And my, the key areas is workforce development, consumer engagement and cultural safety.

M: We've seen now the states that when the virus gets in, it spreads very fast, do you think our community is prepared for an outbreak?

D: Not really, I don't think people in WA know how bad COVID is because many of us don't know anyone who has had it. You know, in an outbreak, we've seen in Eastern States and around the world that COVID makes people very sick. And many people die from it. This will happen here. There's still too many people who haven't been vaccinated, and lots of people who need to get their second dose – you can’t wait anymore. You know, it’s just across the border, there's talk that that WA will open its borders in early January, that's only nine weeks away. It's important for people to understand that it only takes five weeks from your first COVID vaccination until you are fully protected. And then you need to have both doses. That doesn't leave much time for us to protect our families and ourselves by getting the vaccine. Being vaccinated is the best way, the best Christmas present for you, your family and your community.

M: And why are people afraid? Why are people not stepping up and you know doing the right thing and getting vaccinated?

D: I think there's a lot of misinformation you know, I think we need if we can get the right information through your Aboriginal health clinics and from hospitals and vaccines centres, you will be informed with the right information.

M: As an experienced community and government worker, health worker, what works best in your experience to encourage healthy behaviour, including vaccination, and taking it up.

D: The role modelling and getting the vaccine so people can see it safe, you know, get our elders up there. We just recently had one of our role models. Auntie Yvonne Cox goes, you know, we went to one of the communities and she, she's a long-time health worker and family. She's been double vaxxed lives now in Beagle Bay when she promoted it really well. So using our role models, talking to people about why it's important and make sure they have the correct information.

M: You talked about Beagle Bay and Beagle Bay is one of the forefront communities in the Kimberley that, you know, got up to 90% vaccinated. Is that because of the work of Yvonne Cox?

D: It's a work of the whole team of, of health professionals, you know, KAMS and, and WACHS, WA Country Health Service, and RFDS is a team effort. And community senior community members you know, working together to, to provide the correct information and getting people and having available vaccines to be able to stand up clinic and provide it safely.

Role modelling is important, getting the vaccine, so people can see that it's safe, you know, and in showing that we let them visual. We like to see and trust our own mob. So, we need to you know, look at that. Um, showing people what happens if you don't get the vaccine, because unvaccinated people get really sick and die from COVID. And there are also long-term issues from having COVID that not many people know about. You can feel sick for weeks to months after COVID. This is called long COVID. Common signs and symptoms that linger over time include fatigue, feeling tired, shortness of breath, or can't breathe properly. Coughing, joint pain, chest pain, memory concentration, or hard to sleep, muscle pain or headache, fast or pounding heart, loss of smell, or taste. You can even get depressed or anxious, or fever, you know that? That's if you don't. Best thing to do is to get back vaccinated. Otherwise, these things can linger on. I talk about that long COVID with you. It could also damage your lungs. But it's also it can damage your heart, kidneys, and the brain.

M: Good God, it’s no hope is it? Vaccination sounds like the way to go?

D: Well, that's probably the key thing that we need to understand that if we get vaccinated, we can prevent we it's not to say you can't still you know, still gonna catch it or become ill. But the symptoms and the side effects will be really less compared to if you don't if you're not vaccinated.

M: Very similar to the flu.

D: Yes.

M: You get the you get the flu needle, you'll still get the flu, but you won't get it bad.

D: Yeah, yeah.

M: Almost the same thing. I guess the only other differences if you don't get vaccinated, you could die from, from COVID-19.

D: And you can die from the flu as well. But you know, in this, in this case, if especially if with any underlying conditions that people may have, like, you know, heart disease, diabetes, then well.

M: I've got a question on that.

D: Oh, yeah?

M: Some of them mob have health conditions like diabetes, heart, and kidney problems. Is it dangerous for them to be vaccinated against COVID-19?

D: No, but if people are worried, they should talk to their doctor, nurse or health worker who can reassure them that it's safe. Yeah. So it's actually better for people who have those issues to get vaccinated. There may be some areas where you need to talk to your doctor. But generally, most people can have the vaccination.

M: Now, the young fella, I know you know what we used to go out with each other. And hope your wife don't know that. But anyway, as a lot of young fellas can be a bit cocky when it comes to vaccination with the attitude that they are not going to get sick from COVID-19. What would you say to them?

D: I say- listen, boys, don't be frightened. If you care about your family, just get vaccinated. Be a leader, you want to be, you want to be champ, you wanna be boss?  Encourage your family and friends to get vaccinated because you'll be protecting them and you'll be a real man.

M: Hmm I like that. Yes. And, of course, a lot of people talk about experiencing side effects and you've been vaccinated David. Did you experience any side effects? And can you describe the experience for our listeners?

D: Well, yes, I have been vaccinated, double vaccinated, I had two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. And my arm was a bit sore for a few days and I felt tired from it. Otherwise, all good. I mean, I remember when the nurse was ready to put it in and I looked away once and I look back. And all of a sudden, I said have you started yet? She was already finished. I didn't even feel it.

M: I was the same. I never felt the needle go in. Yeah, but like you said a couple of days.

D: Have a little bit of soreness in the muscle. But nothing no different, similar to the flu jab.

M: Now you have been vaccinated you reassured you're protected. If COVID-19 comes into the Kimberley, how do you feel safe now?

D: I feel safe because you know, if I get COVID I know I won't get as sick as if I wasn't vaccinated. I'm unlikely to end up in hospital, which would happen if I wasn't vaccinated against COVID-19. And I know I'm less like likely to pass it on to my family and friends.

M: Hmm... And change the subject a little bit, but it's still relevant because we all like to go and have a good time and go to the local and see the band playing. You're one of the members of Pigram brothers and the famous Pigram Brothers and of course, you guys have toured extensively, done a few albums and what a great band great voice and everything. Are you hopeful, will we expect another album from the Pigram brothers?

D: I would, I would really love it. We all getting bit old now. You know. We got to look after ourselves. This year. We’re ‘coming Elders and so we needed to get make sure we all vaccinated. Yeah. And so, we can still be here for you know for another hopefully 30 years maybe, 40 years?

M: What's left of it anyway? Haha.

D: And you never know what's around the corner, depending on older brothers sort of doing their own little thing here and there, so yeah, it's bit rare to get us all together. The last time we played was in the Highway to Hell concert which–

M: Yeah yeah.

D: Just before COVID.

M: You get on the back of a truck. Yeah. Yeah. Straight, straight down the streets of Fremantle.

D: Yeah, yeah. Down the Canning Highway

M: My God. Yes. And what about an album from you? When are you going to release a solo album?

D: Well, it's, I need someone to, to record me. I mean, a lot of people have been asking me, they reckon I should do a country one?

M: I'm sure you got a lot of songs.

D: I have a lot of songs floating. And I think it's probably time soon.

M: Yeah. Well, there you go. I think I'd buy the whole collection, darling. Yeah. The whole collection of songs. If you do 2-3-4 elements will be fantastic. I'll be skipping over the moon, knowing I'm COVID free as well. What do you reckon? maybe you can write a song about COVID?

D: I think I think I probably will, at some stage. It's affected all of us. And we all live in a state of you know, fear and anxiety, but it's very soon, it's gonna come in, we have to, we have to move through it and live, live with COVID. It's not gonna go away.

M: Yeah, and Aboriginal families are very close. And they live in close together. So, it's more important for people to be vaccinated, so that you don't bring any sickness, or share it or spread it.

D: Especially  when you're going to, you know, funerals and we're doing things like business as usual at the moment, but if it comes, it can spread really quickly. You know, the Delta variant is very–

M: Contagious, contagious.

D: Delta variant is very contagious. And so, we need to make sure we, you know, practise our safe distancing and wash, Keep washing our hands. And just being aware that it's, it's could be just next door.

M: Thank you very much for coming in. And sharing is any final message you'd like to give to our listeners?

D: Please get vaccinated to protect yourself, the family and the community

M: Gee you’re still handsome. Thank you Mr. David Pigram, everybody.

D: Thank you.

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