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Rare Cancers Australia

COVID Connect

COVID Connect

Welcome to COVID Connect, developed by Rare Cancers Australia. 

We connect you with the latest COVID-19 information, advice and resources to help you navigate your cancer journey.

COVID-19 brings new and complex challenges to the already difficult experience of living with cancer. As the situation continues to evolve across our country and the globe, it is becoming harder to know what information to trust and where to get it.

This dedicated hub aims to support, educate and empower people affected by cancer by providing them with the most up-to-date, reliable and evidence-based information about COVID-19, that is easy to understand and connect to.

On this page, you will find a range of resources to watch, listen to and read according to your preferences and regardless of your location. This information is delivered by Dr Emily, a GP with qualifications in Women's & Children's Health, and Public Health.

In an age of increasing isolation and uncertainty, we need to come together in knowledge and support. That is at the heart of COVID Connect.

If you have any questions or if you would like more information on a particular topic, please email our team on digital@rarecancers.org.au

Audio Video Articles Myths


Listen to the latest from our Radio Rare COVID Connect Mini-Series:

COVID Connect: COVID and its effect on people living with cancer, with Julie McGirr and Giovanna Raco

In the latest episode of the Radio Rare podcast, Clinical Nurse Specialists Julie and Giovanna from Cancer Council Victoria share how the turbulence of the last 18 months has affected people living with cancer, and what patients are most concerned about at the moment.

Listen to previous episodes from our COVID Connect Mini-Series:


Watch the latest from Dr Emily Isham.


Read the latest:

Can we trust COVID-19 vaccines?

As the pandemic continues to evolve, and as does our response, there is a great deal of misinformation circulating as we all try to keep up with the latest advice and developments.

Read more
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for immunosuppressed people?

Living with cancer can be confusing, complex and challenging. Living with cancer in a pandemic can elevate this as uncertainty is compounded by constantly changing risks and advice for you and your loved ones.

Read more
The delta variant

Delta is the name of the new, more infectious variant strain of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. It’s most likely you would’ve heard of delta because that’s the predominant strain circulating across Australia currently.

Read more
Protecting children from COVID-19

So far, COVID-19 has been a global issue causing millions of deaths, predominantly amongst older people or those with underlying conditions. It was originally thought that kids simply couldn’t spread it.

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How effective are the vaccines against the Delta strain?

Before Delta, the increasing global data caused most doctors and scientists to be cautiously optimistic that COVID-19 vaccines would cut SARS-CoV-2 transmission by half. But now, Delta appears to be spreading in both unvaccinated and vaccinated people.

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Possible side effects of the Pfizer vaccine

Currently, one of the COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out around Australia is the Pfizer BioNTech mRNA vaccine. Most Australians between 12 years old and 60 years old, or with legitimate contraindications to the AstraZeneca vaccine, will be offered the Pfizer vaccine.

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Long COVID and Vaccination

We have now all heard about the data proving that the COVID-19 vaccines being administered around the world currently are significantly reducing rates of hospitalisations and deaths from COVID-19.  But what about long COVID?

Read more
Coping with negative feelings during lockdown

As COVID-19 continues to impact our everyday lives, and many of us remain in lockdown, there is growing concern about how prolonged and changing restrictions are affecting our mental health.

Read more
The Stigma of 'Underlying Health Conditions'

How do you feel about the phrase ‘underlying health conditions’ being attached to ‘vulnerable’ people who have lost their lives to COVID-19? In this article, RCA’s Dr Emily discusses the impact this phrase can have on vulnerable groups, including those living with cancer.

Read more


Much of the fear that surrounds COVID-19 stems from the many misconceptions circulating, including that of how vaccines work inside our bodies.

To break through these myths we have created COVID Connect, an online hub for cancer patients, carers and families to connect with the latest evidence-based information and advice.

Vaccines are an artificial way of fighting a virus

Myth: Vaccines are an artificial way of fighting a virus.

Busted: Your body's immune system does the fighting - vaccines just deliver the information it needs in advance so it can more effectively identify and fight off real viruses when they attack.

Vaccines are like a software update for your body's immune system. 

In the case of COVID-19 vaccines, they very precisely code the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, based on the genetic sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. 

Like other vaccines, they work to familiarise your immune system with the COVID-19 virus' appearance - without its harm - so that your body can mount a quicker immune response when you are infected and your body encounters the real virus.

This is especially important for people who have weakened immune systems, like those living with cancer.

Does having a COVID-19 vaccine make you transmit COVID-19?

Myth: Does having a COVID-19 vaccine make you transmit COVID-19?

Busted: No, vaccinated people who are not infected do not transmit the virus.

However, if you are vaccinated and you've been infected with the Delta strain, then it is possible to still pass it on. However, your risk of serious disease and death is reduced significantly.

People who are vaccinated are at risk of causing more variants.

Myth: People who are vaccinated are at risk of causing more variants.

Busted: COVID-19 variants occur due to increased transmission between people, providing an opportunity to mutate, and viruses create variants to escape people's immunity - whether it be innate or vaccine-induced.

Many even occurred before the vaccines were developed. Vaccines will reduce transmission, thus reduce the likelihood of more variants developing.

Spike proteins are toxic

Myth: Spike proteins created by vaccines are toxic and will invade and kill your organs and cells.

Busted: Spike proteins are the tiny proteins at the tip of the COVID-19 virus allowing them access to our cells.

Vaccines help our body to make our own harmless versions of these spike proteins to activate the immune response which protects us from the real virus. They are then destroyed quickly and do not pose any danger to our bodies.

The COVID vaccines have been developed to quickly

Myth: COVID-19 vaccines were developed too quickly

Busted: Both Pfizer and AstraZeneca use long-standing technology to prime your immune system, and they have both undergone the usual safety checks and clinical trial phases - just in a quicker time period.

COVID-19 vaccines do not stop transmission or infection

Myth: COVID-19 vaccines do not stop transmission or infection

Busted: Both AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccinations reduce transmission between people without COVID-19 symptoms by approximately 70%.

COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility

Myth: COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility

Busted: There is no scientific evidence to support this.

Experts in the IVF field have noticed no change in embryo development, embryo formation or pregnancy failure rate after vaccination.

COVID-19 vaccines contain aborted foetal cells