The faces behind the South West’s vax stats

Jacinta CantatoreSouth Western Times
Candice McNab, Caspian Yurisich and daughter Jelena, 2, with Kathleen Kelsey.
Camera IconCandice McNab, Caspian Yurisich and daughter Jelena, 2, with Kathleen Kelsey. Credit: Jacinta Cantatore/Jacinta Cantatore

These are the faces behind the South West statistic that two-out of-three people have received a COVID jab.

The South Western Times reported earlier this month the number of residents in the regions that had been administered with the vaccine had ticked past 66 per cent.

But behind the figures are real people with reasons for rushing to get vaccinated, or still putting off their injection.

Donnybrook’s Candice McNab, 31, is 34 weeks pregnant with her first child and chose to get vaccinated to protect her baby.

“I was worried at first because there wasn’t research on fertility afterwards, or the effects it might have on bub,” she said.

“But I spoke to my GP and midwife and talked about it with my husband.

“In the end I made that choice to protect bub, and to protect myself because I suffer asthma.

“My whole family is vaccinated, even my 82-year-old grandmother.”

Caspian Yurisich, who is in his 30s, is fully vaccinated and his wife is booked in for her first dose.

He works in the disability sector so was one of the first groups eligible for the jab.

He said for him there was no question.

“I work in disability so a bunch of the dudes I work with would be rolled if they got COVID,” he said.

“I don’t tell a lawyer or a plumber how to do their job, so why would I tell a doctor?

He said people misunderstood the point of freedom.

“Lots of people who don’t want the vaccine talk about freedom,” he said.

“But freedom means we have freedom to do things but also freedom from things. We already do a lot of things about public safety, this is in the same vein.”

Bunbury’s Kathleen Kelsey said she not only did not want the vaccine, but was also worried about allergic reactions to the jab.

“It’s unlikely I’m a safe candidate because I’ve previously had anaphylaxis reactions to medications,” she said.

“Even if I didn’t have the health risk, I still wouldn’t have it.

“Getting the vaccine doesn’t mean you won’t get COVID.

“The statistics and the facts don’t stand up.

“I don’t do anything without research.

“I don’t disagree with them, I completely respect their choice.”

WA has the third lowest COVID vaccination rates in the country, but these numbers are likely to increase significantly after WA’s mandatory vaccination program was expanded.

More than 55 per cent of WA residents over 12 years of age are fully vaccinated, sitting more than 20 per cent behind NSW and ACT where more than 81 per cent of the population has received both jabs.

Premier Mark McGowan last week added a range of workforces to those who must be fully vaccinated, with prison officers, supermarket workers and mechanics among those added to the list.

For now, the South West sits comfortably as one of the region’s leading the vaccination race, with Bunbury’s first-jab figures now at 77.8 per cent for people 15 years and over and 58.1 per cent fully vaccinated.

For some, this mandate puts a firm deadline on when they get their jab, but more than two out of three people in the region have already chosen to roll up their sleeve.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails