Awkward moment after first vaccination
The historic moment of the first Australian to be administered the COVID-19 vaccine dissolved into giggles on Sunday when the 86-year-old recipient inadvertently flipped the nation the bird.
Jane Milysiak, of Marayong, was selected to be the first to receive the jab and she did so alongside Prime Minister Scott Morrison at Castle Hill Medical Centre in Sydney’s northwest on Sunday morning.
She was all smiles as she received the injection, seated next to Mr Morrison, who wore a face mask emblazoned with the Australian flag.
Like any good politician, Mr Morrison is not one to miss a photo opportunity, so after she received the jab he encouraged her to flash the peace sign for the cameras, saying it meant “V for vaccine”.
After a confused few moments, Jane obliged, but turned her hand the other way, the universal sign for, ahem, “up yours”.
The room erupted into laughter, and the PM quickly pushed Jane’s hand down, saying “always front, always front”.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was among the first Australians to receive the COVID-19 jab when he was vaccinated after Jane.
He was injected in front of the cameras, alongside chief medical officer Paul Kelly and chief nursing officer Alison McMillan.
“I’m feeling great, very confident,” Mr Morrison said after receiving the jab.
“You just sit there, look the other way, it’s all over in half a second.”
The doctor to give Mr Morrison the injection, Jesse Li, said it was the “honour and privilege of my life”.
“I’m glad I got the job done, I was a bit nervous inside,” Dr Lee, 34, said.
“You know, my heart was pounding.
“But at the end of the day, he’s one of the first recipients of hopefully everyone in Australia.
“I’m glad he was happy to do it in front of the cameras and inspire confidence (in the vaccine)”.
The second Australian to receive the jab after Jane was John Healy, 86, of Narrabeen.
When asked what it was like to received the injection, he shrugged and said “no worries”.
“It’s just a little prick and that’s it,” he said.
“It means I now can go out, without any worries.”
Health Minister Greg Hunt said today was an important step in building public confidence in the vaccine before the nationwide rollout begins in earnest on Monday.
“Today is about hope and protection, it’s about to give hope to all Australians of the pathway out from a COVID world to a COVID-safe world,” he told NCA NewsWire.
“And it’s about protection for those people who are most at risk and progressively for all Australians.”
Mr Hunt said Australia was “on track” to return to normal once everyone was vaccinated.
“We obviously have to see what’s the impact in terms of transmission and longevity of antibodies, but the science is good and the hope is high,” he said.
During an interview earlier on Sunday, Insiders host David Speers asked Mr Hunt whether there was a danger Mr Morrison would be seen as “jumping the queue” by received the vaccine first.
“There was a very strong focus on the need for key leaders, not the parliament, not the cabinet, not even the leadership group, but a cross-party group, to provide that confidence,” Mr Hunt said.
“This is a cross-parliamentary view where parliamentarians don’t have any special status … that it is about the confidence and indeed the research shows that people want to see that if we believe it’s safe, then that will give them greater confidence.”
He added that opposition leader Anthony Albanese would be vaccinated later this week.
Mr Morrison and the first cohort to be vaccinated received the Pfizer jab, not the AstraZeneca vaccine that most Australians will receive.
Mr Hunt said it was Professor Kelly’s advice that having the Prime Minister receive the jab early would “provide confidence”.
“We really did worry about this notion, but by having a small group of people across the parties, then that was the approach,” Mr Hunt said.
“Either way there could be criticism, but we’ve taken the advice of the medical authorities and confidence and demonstration, but today is the first round of vaccines for Australia, and ultimately that’s about hope and protection for Australians.”
Mr Hunt rejected anti-vaxxers’ views but acknowledged there was some hesitancy among Australians to get the jab, particularly among young women.
“There is a small group which might be 4 to 5 per cent, and whilst we reject and condemn some of the absolute myths that they perpetrate, our focus is on those people who are hesitant,” he said.
“One of the things they were worried about was this is a new vaccine, has it been done too quickly? Which is why the full is on safety, safety, safety … But as more Australians take it, as we’ve seen around the world, and it is shown to be safe, it’s shown to be effective, then that raises confidence across the community.”
The Therapeutic Goods Administration had determined the vaccine was safe for breastfeeding mothers, women who were pregnant and mothers considering becoming pregnant, Mr Hunt added.
Originally published as Awkward moment after first vaccination