Top 3 COVID-19 vaccine questions – COVIDSafe after vaccine, Delta variant symptoms and mask wearing

Department of Health

cover image of top 3

video still of Professor McMillan

6:00

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Good morning. I’m here with Linda, the Auslan interpreter. I’m here this morning to answer the commonest questions we’re being asked. I know across Australia we are seeing now many restrictions in the states and territories as we are seeing the spread of Covid again this winter. For many of you, I know this is a challenge and it’s very important that if this is causing you any distress at all, it is really important that you seek help. You can call Beyond Blue on 1800 512 348. But do reach out to get help, talk to your friends and family and look after yourself and your well-being during this further outbreak, the further outbreaks we’re seeing across the country.

First question. Why is it important to practice COVIDSafe behaviours even if you’ve been vaccinated?

So the two vaccines that have currently been approved in Australia are the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines. Both of these vaccines are extremely effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalisation and death from COVID-19. But the research is still pending on to what extent these vaccines prevent the transmission of COVID-19 between people, even if they’re vaccinated. So at the moment, we’re asking you to continue to follow those COVIDSafe behaviours that we’ve now been so familiar with in the last 18 months. So that at the moment includes: we’ve seen lockdowns across the country, we’re seeing the requirement for you to wear a mask in certain circumstances. So it is important that you follow the instructions in the state and territory you’re in, either you can see often the advice on television or on press conferences or on the websites where you can get the most up-to-date advice. By doing these things we’ve become so familiar with, we will get through this again but it does require all of us to do the right thing every time, please.

Second question. Do the symptoms of the Delta variant differ from the other strains?

So we do know from data that’s coming from the United Kingdom that there does seem to be a change in the symptoms associated with the Delta virus. People are reporting more commonly with the Delta virus: headache, persistent cough and sore throat, runny nose and a fever or high temperature. In some ways this is different to what we originally saw, which was more fever, loss of taste and smell, cold symptoms, runny nose, flu-like symptoms, so there is some variation. The important message for everyone is if you have any symptoms at all, however mild, don’t try to work it out for yourself. The important thing is to get tested and stay home until you get your result.

And finally, why do I need to wear a mask and how should I wear one?

We do know from a lot of evidence now that a mask is a really great way of preventing the spread of Covid between us, but it is important that you know how and when to wear a mask and when those requirements are. So as I’ve just said, make sure you know what the requirements are in the state or territory you live in, but let me show you and remind you of how to put on a mask. Most importantly before you put on the mask, hygiene your hands, rub the gel across your hands, between your fingers and you do this for 20 seconds to ensure that you get really good opportunities to kill any germs that might be on your hands. If you’re wearing a mask like this, the blue always goes to the outside. Try not to touch the front of the mask, put it over your face, tuck it behind your ears. Importantly, it must go under your chin, and lift it on your nose. Shouldn’t hang below your nose and should be across your chin and you wear this mask. Try not to touch the front of the mask however uncomfortable it might be and this will help keep you safe from Covid and protect others. When you remove it, again across from your ears and straight in the bin if it’s a disposable mask like this is. Again if we all do the right thing we can get through this together, so stay safe and thank you for your time.

Top 3 questions

  1. Why is it important to practise COVID safe behaviours even if you’ve been vaccinated?
  2. Do the symptoms of the Delta variant differ from the other strains?
  3. Why do I need to wear a mask and how should I wear one?

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