For Elisa Zentveld and her four teenage children, getting the COVID vaccine was important not just for their own health, education and employment but for protecting the community.
Dr Zentveld, James, 18, and Chantelle, 16, received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine through a local medical clinic on Tuesday, and 15-year-old identical twins Jonathan and Sebastian will have their first jab on Wednesday.
As a single parent Dr Zentveld was keen to get her Pfizer vaccine to ensure she stays healthy and able to look after her children.
And with her four teens all exposed to large numbers of people while working in the fast-food industry, and all studying, she sees vaccination as the best way to protect them and the community.
They were all looking forward to starting their COVID vaccination journey, with only one having concerns about the jab.
"The only negative came from one of the younger ones who asked a very reasonable question: how do we know what the long term impact will be?," Dr Zentveld said.
"I said 'well it's new so we don't know, but we do know the alternative scenario and we do know that people who are getting hospitalised from COVID are not vaccinated'."
Dr Zentveld said she spent a lot of time looking in to the vaccines and asked advice from a friend who is an immunologist. "It's important that people do make a well-informed decision," she said.
"From my perspective I'm risk-averse and it's really important to have the children safe and protected so I'm particularly looking forward to having them vaccinated.
"And if something happens to me there's nobody else to look after the children, they would be raising themselves, which puts pressure on me to make really important decisions for my health."
Chantelle, 16, is in year 12 and eager to be fully protected before her final exams start next month.
Dr Zentveld had been on a waiting list at her local medical clinic for some time and when she received the call they were getting more stock of Pfizer she was able to book for the whole family as expansion of eligibility to include children aged 12 to 15 had just been announced.
"My four children all work in the fast food industry so they have been more on my mind than myself because they actually do have interaction with the public because they have still been open. I did say to them you do have a responsibility as well to your employer and customers that you are protected for yourself and others.
"It's not just about school because a lot of school kids do have employment so it's a dual need."
Ballarat's senior students were quick to take advantage of a vaccination blitz for those sitting year 12 exams, with hundreds receiving their first jabs during 'Super Sunday' at the Ballarat Health Services Vaccination Clinic at the Mercure.
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Dr Zentveld also urged parents to be aware of the physical, as well as the mental, impact of online schooling for young people. "With all the online schooling and lockdown, normally children who go to school can walk or ride a bike to school and they are booted outdoors for breaks but now they are inside in little caves," she said.
"My daughter has very low Vitamin D and that can cause a lot of problems like lack of sleep, concentration, depression. It's really important as parents to be vigilant not just about vaccine to protect them but about looking out for other things because the very nature of online school work means they're inside and not getting the Vitamin D they need outdoors."
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