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UNSW encourages students to get AstraZeneca vaccines as part of Super Vaccination Sunday

by Kat Wong

UNSW is encouraging anyone over the age of 18 to participate in Super Vaccination Sunday on 15th August and receive the AstraZeneca vaccine from Sydney Olympic Park.

This morning, NSW Health revealed 390 new, locally-acquired cases of COVID-19, the highest number since the beginning of the 2021 Sydney Winter lockdown. With over 250 of those unlinked to previous clusters, the NSW Government appears to have abandoned plans to push towards zero-COVID in the community, in favour of high vaccination rates.

Sydney Olympic Park, one of NSW’s biggest vaccination hubs, has begun their ‘Super Vaccination Sunday’ program, where, every Sunday, over 5,000 AstraZeneca vaccination appointments are made available to anyone over the age of 18 without prior GP consultation. Interested individuals don’t even need a Medicare card, though they do have to book their spot through this link, first.

In an email sent this afternoon, UNSW encouraged all students to participate in the initiative by booking their AstraZeneca appointments via this link for Sunday 15th August (although students can book on other dates, if they prefer).

The vaccine is incredibly effective at protecting individuals from COVID-19. Just one dose reduces Delta strain-related hospitalisation by 71%, and the full two dose course of AstraZeneca is up to 92% effective against serious illness from the Delta strain of COVID-19.

These results are similar to those produced by other vaccines. For example, Pfizer is 96% effective against hospitalisation after two doses, which is only four-percent more than AstraZeneca. Yet, AstraZeneca is far more readily available due to its comparatively manageable storage requirements.

While the AstraZeneca vaccination poses a miniscule risk of developing thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), only 3.1 individuals out of every 100,000 who receive the vaccine develop TTS. Even amongst those who develop TTS, the syndrome’s mortality rate is only 3%. So, the risk of dying from the AstraZeneca vaccine is a mere 1 in 2 million. The only groups for which AstraZeneca is not recommended are those with a past history of idiopathic splanchnic (mesenteric, portal, splenic) vein thrombosis, antiphospholipid, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, or heparin-induced thrombocytophenia.

By contrast, the mortality rate of COVID-19 amongst 20 to 40 year olds is 0.3%. While this may sound insignificant, it translates to 6000 deaths in every 2 million COVID-19 cases. Additionally, contracting COVID-19 poses other risks such as chronic health issues which may arise from the virus’ long-term effects.

To book an AstraZeneca vaccine appointment, anyone over the age of 18 can use the Sydney Olympic Park vaccination link, or book via the Vaccine Eligibility Tracker to find a different provider. UNSW students can also book AstraZeneca appointments at UNSW Health Clinic using the Vaccine Eligibility Checker. Those who reside on-campus also have the option to book a Pfizer vaccine at the UNSW Health Clinic by calling their number (02 9385 5425) with proof of residency.