This morning’s news is that Australia’s TGA has determined the vaccine is safe for children aged 12 to 15. Reading this news I had two immediate reactions:
As a parent, there was pure relief.
Without a doubt, as soon as I get a chance, I’ll be signing my kids up. In our latest lock-down, I noticed for myself the improvement in my own mental health and well-being knowing that at least I was vaccinated; and that if one of us had to go to the shops, I could take one for our team.
I have watched over the past 18 months as my two kids, who live in one of the least-impacted places on the planet, have had to incorporate loss after loss. They are not having the tween and teen years that we imagined. They are resilient AF and I’m constantly in awe of what they’re learning about their capacity to be flexible, for sure. But I know that the plans for our state to relax its borders, and our country to open up as a whole, are all based on the statistics of how many people are vaccinated.
I trust the expert opinions that have led to this pathway out. When it comes to vaccinating my kids: We are already THERE, just tell me WHEN.
As a clinical psychologist, I will not be recommending the vaccine – here’s why:
Because I am a psychologist.
I am not a doctor.
It is outside of my scope to tell my clients what is medically right for them. I do not have the training. I am not a virologist. I am not an epidemiologist. I have studied exactly zero units in molecular biology, biochemistry, or microbiology (for the record, I also wouldn’t recommend talking to a virologist or epidemiologist about the best way to foster mental health and well being).
What I will be recommending is this:
We live in a world of misinformation. Everyone from the Barista to the Barrister will have an opinion on this, and as humans we are definitely all entitled to them.
When my clients come to me for support with their mental health and well being, I am in my freaking element. Oh my gosh, I have spent years at university, nearly triple those years actually delivering services, and I’ve-lost-count-of-how-many-thousands of hours and dollars on continuing education. Hell yes, psychological health and well being is my JAM.
When deciding what is right, I will be recommending my clients turn to the people who have spent their careers specialising in this field. For people that are not settled after reading the publicly available advice from these specialised scientific experts, I’ll recommend they go and talk with their GP, who has specialist medical knowledge and training, and can apply that to the specific health details of their young people and advise them on whether or not, in their individual case, the vaccine is safe for their children.
When to listen to casual opinions:
If you don’t have a good GP, accountant, psychologist, physiotherapist, barista, barrister, hair-dresser, vet – I do thoroughly recommend asking friends and family for recommendations on who to see that has the knowledge and skill-set you’re looking for.
And always be kind
No matter where you sit on this issue, be kind. The level of distress and fear on every side is very real. We build more bridges, deepen understanding, nurture connection, and change lives, whenever we are kind. Even if our casual, non-expert opinions are different.