Despite a rare adverse reaction to Pfizer, a Southern Highlands family has touted the benefits of vaccination.
More than 12 months ago the Kangaloon family invented a COVID-killing disinfectant. The product named Virosol was created by Sophie and Steve Westlake as an extra line of defence for vulnerable community members. This is a situation the family was all too familiar with, Mr Westlake lives with an autoimmune condition called myasthenia gravis.
After research and advice from his doctor, Mr Westlake received his first dose of Pfizer on Monday, August 23. Over the next few days he started experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath and fatigue.
Mrs Westlake said they both lived busy lives and "didn't think too much of it".
On Sunday evening, Mr Westlake collapsed and was transported by ambulance to Bowral Hospital. He remained in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for five days and was diagnosed with myocarditis - inflammation of the heart muscle - a rare side effect of the Pfizer vaccination.
Despite this "scary" experience the family still support COVID-19 vaccinations.
The day after Mr Westlake was placed in the ICU, his 16-year-old daughter Emilie-Rose received her first Pfizer dose.
"Vaccinations are going to be an absolute crucial key for us to be able to get out of lockdown and to try and minimize the the severity of the effects of COVID within our community," Mrs Westlake said.
"We support vaccinations, we support social distancing, wearing of masks and keeping your house, your workplace, your school clean."
Mr Westlake is now recovering from home and seeking professional advice for his second COVID-19 dose.
For the family the moral of the story was the importance of listening to qualified doctors and health professionals, as well as the National Vaccination Helpline and working on the "most appropriate course of action to have a level of protection against COVID".
Mrs Westlake put her husband's recovery down to the "incredible" staff, nurses and doctors at Bowral Hospital.
"We can't speak more highly about those people, they are so dedicated," she said.
"We have so much respect and admiration for what they do on a daily basis.
"And so, we felt really confident that we were in good hands and they followed all the appropriate protocols and notified the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)."
The husband and wife thanked the Southern Highlands community for their support since Virosol hit the shelves.
"People embrace the fact [Virosol] was created by a mum and dad from the Southern Highlands... we're just local business owners who decided to just give it a go, which is a very Australian thing," Mrs Westlake said.
"We're really keen to get out of the lockdown but there's also been a lot of positivity, people doing really extraordinary things, helping neighbors, I think it really has bought out the best in a lot of us.
"Southern Highlands is a small community that thrives on small business, and we need to do everything we can to get out of lockdown as quickly as we can."
Visit the Virosol website to learn more.
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