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It’s a win-win for me: Tige shares his COVID-19 vaccine story

Close-up of middle-aged man dressed in a navy jumper

Tige Simmons, 44, is a family man, office worker, and active member of the wheelchair basketball community in Queensland—a sport he represented Australia in at multiple Paralympics.

When it was his time to get the COVID-19 vaccine, he didn’t think twice.

“My family was my main motivation to get the vaccine. I have immunocompromised family members, meaning their immune system isn’t working as well as it should be, so I just wanted to do my bit to keep everyone safe.”

On top of that, he didn’t want to compromise anyone in the community or his workplace.

“It’s not an individual decision; it’s a community decision. Be selfless—do it for the people around you, not just yourself.”

A male and female office worker sitting at a desk and smiling at each other

Tige had no concerns about getting the vaccine but decided to talk to his GP to learn more about the timing to receive his first COVID-19 shot and flu vaccine, which should be 7 days apart. Happy with the information he received from his GP, he was comfortable to go ahead with making a booking.

“I booked my appointment over the phone by calling 134 COVID (134 268), which was really straightforward. I then rescheduled over the phone as well with no issues. I was a bit worried I may feel some side effects and didn’t want that to impact my daughter’s birthday.”

As a digital marketing professional, Tige was interested to see what the booking process and email communications leading up to his appointment would look like.

“The communications I received after booking were fantastic, and really helped speed things up on the day, especially the QR code you get for your booking confirmation. They scan it on arrival, and it instantly gives them all the necessary information.”

A man in a wheelchair, dressed in office attire, with a pedestrian crossing and busy city street in the background

Tige was keen to get his vaccine at a familiar location where he knew access wasn’t going to be issue for him.

“I booked in at the Mater Hospital which was my preferred location. It has easy access and good signage…but parking was a bit tricky given how busy the hospital is. I was really happy with my vaccination experience overall—there was no queue and I was in and out in 30 minutes.”

While Tige is not a fan of needles, he felt comfortable and well looked after during his appointment.

“The nurse was great. She made me laugh and I didn’t even feel the needle! The lollipop was a bonus of course.”

Tige knew he might experience some side effects following his vaccination and made preparations just in case.

“The first Pfizer dose didn’t affect me at all, but the second was more noticeable. I felt a bit sluggish and lethargic, but that only lasted a day. It really hit me when I was trying to play tennis!”

While it was a relatively easy vaccination journey for Tige, he knows it won’t be the same for everyone.

“Going to a vaccination appointment can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you don’t know whether or not a place will cater for your accessibility needs. I would still encourage everyone to try and get your vaccination ASAP. An outbreak can happen any time, so just get it done. And remember, you can always call ahead and find out what access will be like on the day.”

Smiling man in a wheelchair in an urban setting framed by trees

Now fully vaccinated, Tige is grateful to have the extra protection against the COVID-19 virus, for himself and the people around him.

“I feel much safer and reassured. The whole world is doing this together, and I’m a part of that. Getting vaccinated is a win-win for me.”

What’s next for Tige? A family holiday to New Zealand, as soon as possible.

“To me, being vaccinated means a possibility to travel again and hopefully, once everyone is vaccinated, there’s a renewed sense of safety in the community.”

If you’d like to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, including how to register or book an appointment, please visit:  https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/protect-yourself-others/covid-19-vaccine/book

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Last updated: 22 July 2021