26 September 2023

Health expert Alison has answers to COVID

Start the conversation

The Department of Health has posted an online expert’s response to the most common questions asked by the public concerned at the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Alison McMillan (pictured) said she had been frequently asked by essential workers for her advice on dealing with someone who was really nervous about receiving a vaccine, or who had a needle phobia.

“It is okay to be nervous, People can be anxious about all sorts of things and particularly during this pandemic, we know that has caused people anxiety,” Professor McMillan said.

“The good news is that the health professional who will give you your vaccine is very experienced in working with people or patients who are nervous, and they will help you through that process.”

She said it was worth taking the time to think about why you were having the vaccine, reminding yourself that the COVID-19 vaccines were saving lives, and that both vaccines had been rigorously tested.

On whether there was a current need for booster jabs, Professor McMillian said there was not a lot of information on how long the COVID vaccines would last and whether or not a booster or a revaccination might be necessary.

“Planning is under way in Australia in the expectation that a booster or a revaccination might be necessary, but right now we are concentrating on getting as many people as possible vaccinated with their first and second dose,” she said.

“The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and the Therapeutic Goods Administration are continuing to monitor the evidence and the experiences across the world around whether revaccination or booster is required.”

She said she was often asked whether it was safe for pregnant women to be vaccinated.

“Firstly, if you are pregnant, you are eligible right now to receive the Pfizer vaccine,” Professor McMillan said

“The Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the ATAGI are recommending that pregnant women get their COVID vaccine at any time during their pregnancy.”

She said evidence gathered from around the world indicated that pregnant women were at greater risk of severe disease if they caught COVID, which could cause premature birth of their babies.

Professor McMillan’s full answers to the questions can be accessed on the Department of Health’s website at this PS News link.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.