‘Selfish’ Millennials step up to save Australia

On Tuesday night young people finally got the thing they’ve been harping on about for months. Prime Minister Scott Morrison opened up the vaccine to under-40s – but there was a big catch. They would only be eligible for AstraZeneca (AZ), the vaccine that’s had the worst PR campaign in Australian history.

This left Millennials in something of a quandary: Would they put themselves forward to take a vaccine with a (very rare) risk of blood clots and even death?

Would they take the risk that they’ve been pressuring their boomer parents to take for the past six months?

For many, the answer is HELL, YES.

Millennials may have the reputation of being an entitled, narcissist and lazy generation but in less than 24 hours many had booked and even had their AstraZeneca jab. They’ve had time to assess the risks and realised that enough is enough, let’s get this thing done.

RELATED: Risks under 40s are taking with AstraZeneca jab

Within hours of Scott Morrison’s announcement, every WhatsApp group I’m in was busy with people sharing links to GP practices already accepting appointments for under-40s to get AstraZeneca. Everyone I know who doesn’t have underlying health conditions has already booked.

I used Hot Doc and got an appointment for a GP surgery near me on July 10. Simple.

While it’s completely understandable for many under-40s to still be confused about what to do, many have taken it into their own hands.

They want to be able to carry on with their lives, to visit friends and family overseas, to travel interstate without being locked down. To travel Europe for the summer, to buy a home without fear of an economic collapse, to get drunk in a pub and dance. And if that’s typical selfish Millennial behaviour, then so be it.

RELATED: How to book to get your AZ vaccine

While many young people have jumped at the chance to get AZ, some are, understandably, very cautious. What hasn’t helped with this stress and confusion is the way in which our Federal Government has handled the vaccine rollout.

One of the big criticisms of Morrison’s late-night announcement that under-40s could get AZ was that the Australian Medical Association (AMA) found out about it at the same time as the rest of Australia.

“It took us by surprise, and it’s hard to know how to take that announcement because I think it’s going to be a limited number of people to take it up, given that they would be going against the expert ATAGI recommendation,” AMA president Dr Omar Khorshid Khorshid told The Guardian on Tuesday.

RELATED: Turmoil among doctors and states over new AstraZeneca rules

Today the farce continued with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk advising people younger than 40 not to get AZ.

“At the moment, the advice is for people aged 40 to 59 to get Pfizer, and people 60 and over to get AstraZeneca. There has been no national cabinet decision about AstraZeneca being given to under-40s.” Ms Palaszczuk said.

With little clear guidance from our leaders, this leaves people with no choice but to look at the facts and decide for themselves if they’re happy to take the risk.

As the daughter of two nurses I messaged them to ask whether I should get AstraZeneca and their replies were: “I think so Riah. Just have a good read up on the issues surrounding it but cases of blood clot reaction are extremely low” and “I would defo have vaccine”. I’ll leave you to guess which was from my mum and which was from my dad!

Call me reckless but that was good enough for me.

Only time will tell if opening up the AstraZeneca vaccine to young people will have enough of an impact to get Australia to herd immunity before the Delta variant takes hold. But wouldn’t it be great if Millennial snowflakes were the generation that saved the day?

Riah Matthews is the commissioning editor at news.com.au

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