Covid-19 Vaccination

Dr Malcolm Mackay supports COVID-19 vaccination.

The vaccines available in Australia are highly effective at preventing hospitalisation and death, and moderately effective at reducing the risk of contracting COVID and spreading it to others.

The adverse effects profile of each vaccine has been studied in millions of people and serious adverse effects (eg. blood clots following AstraZenica) are rare. COVID vaccines can no longer be considered ‘experimental’.

I recommend reframing the decision of ‘vaccine’ vs ‘no vaccine’, to ‘vaccine’ vs ‘natural infection’ as we are all likely to be exposed to the virus sometime in the future. The risk of adverse effects from ‘Natural infection’ (with no prior immunisation) are orders of magnitude higher than the risk of adverse effects from the vaccines. Vaccinated individuals are less likely to suffer prolonged symptoms, ‘long COVID’, should they contract COVID despite being vaccinated.

The risk of severe infection is much lower in young, healthy, plant-based individuals but they are not COVID-proof – some will develop severe infection or ‘long COVID’. Immunisation of healthy individuals is a public health strategy designed to reduce the transmission of disease to elderly and health-disadvantaged individuals.

Official ‘Medical Exemptions’ can be granted to COVID-19 vaccination where there is a genuine medical contraindication to all three of the available vaccines. There are set medical criteria for exemption that are clearly defined by ATAGI and do not include my professional judgement or your opinion. There are several uncommon conditions that are recognised contraindications to the AstraZenica vaccine but almost none for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Proven severe allergy to components of all three vaccines is the only real grounds for a medical exemption. If you have a ‘conscientious objection’ to COVID vaccination, have formed the opinion that the vaccines are unsafe, or have determined your own medical grounds for exemption then I empathise with you, but I cannot issue a certificate.

Prior COVID-19 infection

The purpose of the vaccine exemption provision was to prevent discrimination against those who were allergic to the vaccines and against those who had been advised to wait until they had recovered from acute severe illness, including COVID-19 infection. At this late stage of the vaccine roll-out it is no longer plausible that an unvaccinated status is the result of delayed vaccination because of COVID-19 infection. As such I am no longer providing vaccine exemption certificates for prior COVID-19 infection.

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