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Dr Billie Whiteson - Head of Medical

Dr Billie Whiteson

Head of Medical

Dr Billie Whiteson

Its 10pm I am sitting at home enjoying a wicked Tim Tam having completed another day of administering COVID vaccinations.

I will have met some of you before as I accompanied the Maccabi Pan Ams team to Mexico. For those of you who weren’t there sorry … ‘cos we had a brilliant time. A lot of hard work and planning went on behind the scenes for the management team. The athletes produced a successful games in the pool, on the courts, on the field, on their bikes and on the (table tennis) tables. I loved being with everyone, the camaraderie and team spirit came through from the top of the organising team through to the youngest competitor. I am not a brilliant sportsperson and a “Newbie” to the Maccabi family so I was so grateful for the way I was welcomed and integrated into the team. I had a great time. So, when I was approached to reprise my role as the team doctor in Israel I readily agreed.

I work as a GP having initially started out on a surgical career pathway. I have worked with professional and amateur sports people throughout my professional life. I look after everyone from 0-90 and beyond ... if I do my job right! I have accompanied several large groups of people overseas as ‘the doctor’ including a horse trek over the Andes, having to carry my medical kit on my back whilst the horse carried me on its back. When we meet I’ll tell you more about it.

Back to today..

Today was a Pfizer vaccine day, tomorrow AstraZeneca , Friday Pfizer and so it will go on for a few months I expect.

None of us has a choice as to which vaccine we are offered as we currently do not have enough Pfizer vaccine in the country for everyone who wants it. It has been earmarked for those who are aged 40-59 years old. Yet despite being in the midst of another COVID outbreak in Sydney people seem reticent to have the AstraZeneca vaccine. Melbourne has recently climbed out of their recent outbreak.

AstraZeneca is a great vaccine. It works as well as the Pfizer vaccine. Both give 30% protection against the Delta variant after one dose and about 90% protection after two. This means 90%+ of those fully vaccinated with two doses of either vaccine will not get severe disease or end up in hospital.

The more of us who get vaccinated the fewer people who can catch COVID or pass it on.


In a year from now we’ll be in Israel and it’ll be mandatory for all of us to have received a course of vaccine to enter the country. We have been told that a course of either vaccine is perfectly acceptable to Israeli authorities.


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