Dispelling myths and encouraging young people to be vaccinated
Photo: Pexel stock photo
Josephine is proud to be half Samoan and Tongan, although she identifies more strongly with her Samoan heritage. She said, “At first I was hesitant about getting my first vaccination because I believed everything I read, and I also have a huge needle phobia.” Josephine feels that social media is having a big impact on young people’s hesitancy to becoming vaccinated. In her view there is a lot of misinformation circulating.
“You won’t believe the questions some young people ask and the misconceptions they have. Some of them are scared because they think the vaccine injects them with magnets and they worry they will get stuck to the fridge.” She has a brief giggle and continues, “I feel it really helps them to speak to a young disabled person who has had their vaccination.”
She likes to help dispel myths, she was surprised that some didn’t know what the term ‘medical professional’ means and so many have resorted to Googling to find someone with that title. I was only after Josephine had explained to them that their own GP or doctor is a medical professional that they realised they can talk to them too.
Growing up in mainstream education, she has always been independent and hard working. Recalling her upbringing she says, “It was hard but I’m glad it was like that because I’m afraid to challenge myself.”
Josephine enjoys her work, and this became a deciding factor in her choice to be vaccinated. “I needed to get it for work and to be able to travel so I decided to do it,” she explains. Josephine also rang her GP, “He has known me since I was four years old, so when he said it was ok for me to get the vaccine, I knew it would be fine.”
Her first vaccination was before the roll out was in full swing so she could not get it from her doctor. She found a vaccination site, however there were accessibility issues. She laughs as she recalls, “It was back in July before it was available to everyone, there were disabled carparks but people with disabilities couldn’t park there, they had to park outside the gate and cross a road,” she explains animatedly. Using her wheelchair made navigating the road crossing more difficult.
Since then she is happy to see that there are a lot more options available to people including pharmacies, doctors and drive-through vaccinations. She said, “It would have been great if the free taxi had been available when I went for my vaccination, transport is always an issue for people with disabilities.”
Josephine was glad to have her partner by her side to help her overcome her needle phobia. In terms of side effects, she has only experienced a sore arm following the first vaccination. She said, “Using a wheelchair with a sore arm, was more difficult than I thought. It was tricky trying to get up the ramp near my place as my one arm was so much weaker for those two days.”
While, she put off having her second vaccination until a vaccinator came to the building she lived in, she didn’t have any side effects and is happy to be fully vaccinated. She would encourage anyone unsure or needing support to access the vaccination to not be she to ask.
If you are unsure or need support give us a call 0800 824 5872 or phone the dedicated disability help line 0800 11 12 13.