VAX THE NATION

Virginia Haussegger says getting Covid vaccine is part of 'civic responsibility'

Virginia Haussegger, pictured with dog Vincent, said getting vaccinated was part of her 'civic responsibility'. Picture: Elesa Kurtz
Virginia Haussegger, pictured with dog Vincent, said getting vaccinated was part of her 'civic responsibility'. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

For former ABC broadcaster and Australian of the Year nominee Virginia Haussegger, there was no question about whether she would roll up her sleeve and get vaccinated against COVID-19.

"For me, it was just because everyone should, it was as simple as that," Ms Haussegger explained, as part of ACM's Vax the Nation campaign.

"I think our civic responsibility is to do what the experts are telling us we need to do."

The actual vaccination process with the AstraZeneca vaccine was unremarkable in how easy it was. After a quick phone call, Ms Haussegger was booked into the mass vaccination hub at Calvary Hospital, and days later the appointment itself proceeded without a hitch.

"I was in and out and back in my car in 30 minutes."

While many may assume that Ms Haussegger had extra motivation to get the jab after being diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2018, she said that wasn't front of mind.

"My husband worries about that more than I do ... it's just such an obvious thing to do."

Particularly given what I've been through with cancer treatment, I have tremendous respect for expertise, medical expertise, and scientific expertise.

Virginia Haussegger

There was no extra push to get vaccinated from a sense of extra vulnerability, but the experience of having intense treatment for cancer, which is now in remission, does contribute to how Ms Haussegger receives medical advice.

"Particularly given what I've been through with cancer treatment, I have tremendous respect for expertise, medical expertise, and scientific expertise," she said.

"I went through chemo and they pumped the most toxic chemicals into my body imaginable to the point where I honestly thought they were trying to kill me, because they tried to kill the cancer in you."

That experience, as well as the knowledge of what friends overseas are facing when it comes to Covid, means Ms Haussegger doesn't just feel a sense of responsibility around the vaccine, but a sense of good fortune and gratitude.

Having received reports from colleagues in Afghanistan, where doctors estimate more than 500 people are dying from the virus each day in Kabul alone, Ms Haussegger believes Australians don't realise how fortunate they are to have vaccines that are easily accessible, and free.

"I guess it helps you put it all in perspective and think, gosh, what have we got to complain about?"

ACM launches VAXTHENATION campaign calling for eligible Australians to get vaccinated.

ACM launches VAXTHENATION campaign calling for eligible Australians to get vaccinated.

Studies Australia show women are more likely to be reluctant to get the vaccine than men, and some polls showing older women were more concerned about side effects associated with the AstraZeneca jab.

"I respect other people's nerves," she said, pointing out that in a "topsy-turvy world" it can feel like there is much that is outside ones' control.

"This is something we can control, what we can control is taking the greatest precaution possible.

"We can't control the spread of the virus, I personally can't, and no one I know can, but we can take precautions that are within our control. And that, in fact, really should give people a sense of empowerment rather than disempowerment."

READ MORE:

In her 50s, Ms Haussegger said she was surprised to hear some people her age say they were disappointed to only be offered the AstraZeneca vaccine rather than the Pfizer vaccine. The call was made to restrict the AstraZeneca vaccine for those aged above 50 after the rare blood-clotting associated with the vaccine showed a higher prevalence in younger people.

"I'm putting my trust with not just one or two experts, but a range of experts and epidemiologists, and chief Health Officers, and if they're telling me collectively, continuously that the AstraZeneca is okay, and it's appropriate for my age group, I'm happy with it.

"I have no expertise in the area myself, and therefore no reason to doubt that."

Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:

This story 'Such an obvious thing to do': Haussegger opens up on getting vaccinated first appeared on The Canberra Times.

Comments

Discuss "'Such an obvious thing to do': Haussegger opens up on getting vaccinated"

Please note: All comments made or shown here are bound by the Online Discussion Terms & Conditions.