Dearests,

Momentous day here.

I got my first COVID-19 vaccine (I got Pfizer).

I know other countries have gotten their vaccines much faster – rollout here in Australia has been much, much slower for various reasons. We’ve mostly managed to have very little COVID cases and deaths in Australia comparatively due to strict quarantining and lockdown measures. And now we’re getting more access to vaccines, just as one state in Australia is struggling to contain the Delta variant.

I didn’t qualify for a Pfizer vaccine as an under 40 year old until about 6 weeks ago. I booked online, and then had about a 5 week wait until my appointment. We drove about an hour to get to the vaccination centre. After I got the vaccine, they gave up Chuppa Chupp lollipops and bottles of water while we sat and waited.

(By contrast, my husband decided to get the Astra Zeneca vaccine and it was a much faster process – he could get it earlier, and just go to a quiet local chemist to get it.)

I actually got teary while we waited: seeing how many people were getting vaccinated, how lucky we are that this is free, how kind all the staff were, and what a miracle that science is. You mean this wee needle can help prevent so many untold illnesses and suffering? What a straight up fucking blessing! What a time to be alive!

Our ancestors sacrificed so much more for the safety and good of their families and communities. This is such a tiny, tiny sacrifice to make that no only helps me but everyone else.

I also felt so oddly patriotic, and proud, and wildly grateful.

We had our youngest daughter with us for it, and she got to watch me get vaccinated, and we talked about what it was for, what it means, and what a historic day it was. She’s lived through a historical event with this pandemic, and she also gets to witness the vaccine that will help bring an end to this event too.

Also because I’m obnoxious adorable, I kept making this joke from The Office all day long:

My husband said after his vaccine he had two thoughts:

  1. He can’t believe there’s been so much talk, debate, bullshit, freak outs and conspiracy theories over such a small needle with life-saving properties. And that it was an easier shot to get than other vaccines. He says Reiki feels more invasive than that vaccine. Ha!
  2. He felt less anxious about COVID. He felt like a superhero with super immune properties. Not in a way that would make him engage in risky behaviour – but so he didn’t have to worry so much about what would happen to him if he did catch it.

Now I’ve had my first vaccine, I understand what he means. All of a sudden, my worry levels are down. Of course, we still need to be protective over our kids who are still too young to be vaccinated yet, plus other members of our families and communities who are immune-suppressed. But the relief is intense.

As most of you already know, I had what was most likely Swine Flu in 2016 – it was six hellish months of recurrent fevers and illness. We had to replace our bed afterwards – it was stained yellow from the fever sweats. My husband said at the time: “I’ve never seen someone so sick before.” I had great piles of blood tests, but they didn’t test for Swine Flu. It was only after I’d finally recovered that a new doctor reviewed my files and told me it was almost certainly Swine Flu, and I should have been hospitalised due to my blood count levels. So it’s always been in the back of the mind: I’ve already lost 6 months of my life due to a similar virus, and COVID-19 is far more deadly and with greater long-term damage than Swine.

Getting a needle is such an easy choice than having to go through something like that again – or giving that hellish experience to someone else.

Anyways, I just feel so bloody grateful. Thank you scientists. Thank you frontline healthcare workers. Thank you, one and all.

To top off our AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE OI OI OI day we visited the Matilda mascot that was originally used in the 1982 Commonwealth Games.

So thrilled all round! What a day!

Big love to you all,

P.S. This should be faaaaairly obvious by now, but just incase you missed it: if you don’t believe in vaccines or science, and instead prefer to “do your research” by listening to unqualified conspiracy theorists who are re-hashing old Nazi rhetoric, you’re in the wrong place. No need to email in, you’ll just get blocked. Just unsubscribe. I dearly hope you stay safe and well, and that you and your loved ones don’t suffer loss or illness because of those decisions. With much love, Leonie.

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