Statement - Incorrect social media commentary regarding ADF vaccinations
17 March 2021
Defence can confirm that the Ship’s company of HMAS Sydney voluntarily received their first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as a key health protection measure ahead of their deployment to North America where the prevalence of COVID-19 is high.
Consistent with national advice and good clinical practice, members of the Ship’s company were also encouraged to report to medical personnel if they were feeling unwell after their vaccination.
Several members of HMAS Sydney’s crew did present to hospital after hours with mild side effects. They were assessed in the emergency department before being released – they were not admitted to hospital. A number of other members also reported mild side effect symptoms that did not require medical care. All symptoms experienced were within the broad range of routine side effects associated with receiving any vaccination.
There are no members of the Ship’s crew currently in hospital. HMAS Sydney sailed the morning of 11 March 2021 with a full crew to the United States – no members of the Ship’s company failed to deploy as a result of taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
So far, approximately 500 Australian Defence Force (ADF) members, as well as the Ship’s company of HMAS Sydney, have been vaccinated as part of Defence’s vaccine roll-out. These members have been prioritised as they are involved in frontline pandemic response tasks such as quarantine support to the states and territories, or they are deploying overseas.
It is not unusual to experience mild side effects after any vaccination. Serious allergic reactions are rare.
Social media commentary from 10 March 2021 asserting that members of HMAS Sydney who received the COVID-19 vaccine had experienced adverse reactions and were hospitalised in intensive care – and that 80 per cent of the Ship’s company were affected – is not true.
Defence and the Department of Health encourage all Australians to obtain information on the COVID-19 vaccine from authoritative sources.