A young man with serious health problems has shared his experience of getting the Pfizer vaccine in an effort to encourage other young Australians to get the shot.
Harrison Kefford, 27, suffers from Crohn’s disease, osteoporosis, liver disease and a range of other conditions that severely affect his immune system.
But the Melbourne man, who had to quit his job as an artist manager due to his illness, was eager to do his part and get vaccinated against Covid-19.
He took to TikTok to share the harmless side effects he experienced after getting the shot and urged other young Australians to face the pandemic and educate themselves about the vaccines.
“Our demographic has waited so long to get the jab because we were often considered the ‘healthy’ ones,” he told the Daily Mail Australia.
Harrison Kefford (pictured) posted a TikTok explaining his experience getting the Covid vaccine while immunocompromised
Mr Kefford said the glut of information about vaccines and Covid on news sites, television and social media can be overwhelming for young people.
He said it was important for people his age to see other people’s experiences in their demographics before making their own decisions.
“Social media is an incredibly important tool to help young people understand what it’s like to go through the experience of receiving the jab,” he said.
The 27-year-old said he created the TikTok to show people who were afraid of getting the jab that it was okay to feel that way, and urged them to talk to their GP about their concerns rather than to write off the vaccines.
“They (doctors) are the best point of contact for information about vaccination rather than listening to someone on social media spreading fear and dangerous information,” he noted.
“The landscape and their situation is difficult enough without someone who is not trained in this field telling them things that are so wrong. Everyone’s body is different, but from someone who has some chronic illnesses… I’ve done it and I’m feeling fine so far.”
In his TikTok, Harrison revealed the side effects he experienced after the shot: sore shoulders, slight loss of appetite, aching stomach, fatigue/lethargy and headache.
He said the minor symptoms only lasted three days.
Harrison uses his social media to raise awareness of the multiple chronic illnesses he suffers from to connect with other young people
Harrison posted the video while being hospitalized in an oncology ward for his Crohn’s disease and CIDP, a rare autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the myelin sheaths.
These are the fatty sheaths on the fibers that insulate and protect the nerves around the body.
He urged young Australians to book their vaccines if they had not already done so.
Harrison uses his social media accounts to raise awareness about chronic illness in the hope that other young people can join in with his experiences and story.
My content is centered around my experiences navigating and coping with my multiple chronic illnesses. It can be daunting and challenging to deal with when you’re young, so I think it’s important to find other people your age to connect with.”
“As much as it is challenging to live with, I also value humor and being able to laugh at your experiences, so I try to make it as accessible as possible,” he said.
He said he wants to help those directly affected by these conditions and help those not affected understand what it’s like to live with a chronic illness.
“My whole thing is about hopefully helping to normalize space, not just for those affected, but for those who aren’t!”
Viewers praised the young man for sharing his experience and his honesty about his illnesses.
Many others with illnesses also shared their experiences of receiving the vaccine.
He stated that he wants to show people who are anxious that it is okay to feel this way, but to have them express their concerns to a GP or specialist to better inform themselves about the vaccine.
“Thank you for being honest about your side effects and letting people know not to worry,” one person wrote.
“I have had epilepsy and stage 4 endometriosis under control and have had my vaccine. I felt like I was getting the flu for two days and then I was 100% better,” wrote another.
“As someone who is also immunocompromised, I’m hooked up to a ventilator in the ICU. The vaccine is a much better experience,” a third added.
The Australian Department of Health states that anyone wishing to receive the Covid vaccine should ask their GP or specialist to discuss their medical history and individual circumstances if they are concerned about vaccination and its effect on existing conditions.
For some, the Pfizer vaccine is recommended over AstraZeneca. The Ministry of Health has information on medical conditions that fall into this category.
The Australian Department of Health has information on the vaccines for people with medical conditions and those concerned about the vaccines