DOUBLE DOSE – Just vaxxed urged: delay rush to party

MONDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2021 THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

NSW doctors are urging newly double-vaccinated Sydney dwellers to put party plans on hold, and continue to socially distance, even if they’ve already been issued with a vaccine passport.

Before general practitioner Dr Eric Chan gave three young people the Pfizer jab at his practice in Five Dock yesterday he reminded them full immunity took a fortnight. ‘‘It does take two weeks to take effect, so I don’t want you guys going to any parties,’’ said Dr Chan, one of the owners of My Family Doctors.
It was difficult with ‘‘Freedom Day’’ coming up, said Dr Chan, whose practices in Five Dock and Eastwood have delivered 15,000 vaccines. Some people were suffer- ing COVID-19 burnout, and were desperate to get out.

Demand for vaccines was strong yesterday before the state opens up today, giving extra freedoms to doubly vaccinated people, including going to the gym, hairdresser and the pub.

Like Dr Chan’s practices, other doctors extended their hours to give extra shots. ‘‘We are flat out,’’ said a staff member at a practice in Chatswood. Many chemists had queues of people waiting outside.

The NSW chair of the Australian Medical Association Michael Bonning said the second shot of either Pfizer or AstraZeneca took seven to 14 days to reach its full strength.

‘‘I would always be on the conservative end of that with 14 days, and say that we should exercise all the same precautions that we were exercising thinking we weren’t fully vaccinated right until two weeks after we’ve had our second,’’ he said. ‘‘Tomorrow shouldn’t be a massive change if you have only had the [second shot of the] vaccine in the last week, or on Sunday.’’

Many people thought the second shot took effect immediately.

Dr Eric Chan gives Elena Stefanovski her second dose of Pfizer. Photo: Edwina Pickles

‘‘The common refrain is, ‘I can go to the gym on Monday. I have my vaccine passport and I can go out’. We need to remind people that the development of immunity is not an instantaneous process,’’ Dr Bonning said. He has been immunising peo- ple at Olympic Park in Homebush.

He also stressed the rules set by NSW Health were the minimum.

NSW Health’s weekly epidemiological reports define a fully vaccinated person as one who has had their second dose more than 14 days ago. In its most recent report, for the week ending September 25, NSW Health found that of those who acquired COVID- 19, 8.4 per cent were fully vaccinated; 13.9 per cent were partially vaccinated and 44 per cent had no effective dose. The remainder’s vaccination status was under investigation. Of those hospitalised, 4.6 per cent were fully vaccinated.

Elena Stefanovski, 23, got her second dose of Pfizer from Dr Chan yesterday, and said that after so many weeks of working from home, waiting another two weeks was ‘‘nothing’’.

‘‘My friends are definitely wanting to go have dinner, and things like that, it’s not too much pressure because everyone has been working from home. Everyone is used to it, but everyone’s definitely excited to go out. But to wait another couple of weeks is nothing.’’

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