As the visceral crowd reaction at the Australian Open final showed, Australians are less than enthusiastic about the COVID-19 vaccine. This is significant because Australia is normally a high vaccine-uptake country – although that perhaps depends on the perceived threat. Vaccination rates for tuberculosis, measles, etc. are over 90%, but only about 20% of Australians bother with the seasonal flu vaccine.
Nonetheless, “vaccine scepticism” is generally not a significant issue in Australia. The COVID vaccine, though, seems to be held in a class of its own – and not in a good way.
Scepticism about the coronavirus vaccine has grown over the past six months — most pronounced among young women — even as immunisations are rolled out around the world.
The belief that COVID-19 is not serious and Australians are not at high risk of contracting the disease are the biggest factors in making people less inclined to get vaccinated, a new study conducted by the Australian National University has found.
Well, the evidence on the latter at least is clear: Australia is an extremely low-risk country for the Chinese virus. As to the first, despite the endless media and political scaremongering, given that almost all positive tests do not imply serious infections, Australians might be excused for their attitude.
What’s clear is that, despite unprecedented pressure, Australians are increasingly unwilling to fall into the official line on COVID vaccination.
The study found a “substantial increase” in vaccine hesitancy between August 2020 and January this year, with 21.7 per cent of Australians now saying they probably or definitely would not get a safe, effective and free COVID-19 vaccine.
Last August, that figure was only 12.7 per cent.
A total of 32 per cent of Australians were “less willing” early this year than they were last year to get the vaccine.
Leading the charge of vaccine hesitancy are women.
The top concerns of those who were hesitant were fears that the long-term side effects of vaccines were unknown; a belief that the vaccines had been developed too quickly; and concerns about having an allergic reaction[…]
The ANU study found the biggest group of concern to the government is women aged between 25 and 34. According to the research, only 67 per cent of women in this age group said they would definitely get a COVID-19 vaccine, compared with 74.5 per cent of men of the same age[…]
Experts believe that concerns about the vaccine and pregnancy and breastfeeding may be a factor in driving higher rates of hesitancy in women aged 25 to 34.
Katie Attwell, an academic at the University of Western Australia who specialises in vaccination uptake behaviour, said the increased hesitancy may reflect the fact women traditionally scrutinised medical matters in greater detail than men.
The government especially are applying extraordinary pressure to enforce vaccine compliance – a tactic which may be backfiring.
The Morrison government believes the most effective way to counter concerns about the vaccine is to reassure people by using doctors, scientists and the nation’s top health bureaucrats, including Therapeutic Goods Administration head John Skerritt, who has been thrust into the public spotlight in recent weeks.
The Department of Home Affairs has also been brought in to monitor online misinformation being spread online.
Despite this, University of Sydney behavioural scientist Julie Leask believes the federal government’s information campaign is not proving effective among those who are hesitant about the jabs.The Australian
After a year during which governments and bureaucrats have not only clearly panicked and often royally screwed up – such as in the Ruby Princess fiasco and Melbourne’s disastrous hotel quarantine scheme – Australians can perhaps be forgiven for not being inclined to be browbeaten by government-approved elites.
We’ve been told we had “just two weeks to flatten the curve”, yet that has turned into repeated lockdowns. We’ve been told to “listen to the experts”, yet the “experts” have often been disastrously wrong, not to mention showing every sign of being on a power trip.
Should anyone wonder that Australians are beginning to ark up? When the same politicians and lab-coated media tarts who’ve presided over the pandemic dictatorship of 2020-21 are now finger-wagging at us to get the jab, or else, it’s hardly a surprise that more and more people are clearly thinking, “fool us twice…”
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