Almost two-thirds of Australians think Covid vaccine rollout is not going well, survey suggests | Health

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Almost two-thirds of Australians believe the Covid-19 vaccine rollout is not going well, with even a majority of Coalition voters declining to give the program a tick of approval.

The latest survey from the Australian National University’s Centre for Social Research and Methods revealed that in April Australians became more willing to take a “safe and effective” vaccine, but many were concerned about the AstraZeneca vaccine after authorities warned it may cause a rare blood clot syndrome.

The results are a warning for the Morrison government, which has revamped the vaccine rollout to direct AstraZeneca vaccines to the over 50s age group amid growing concern about the pace of the rollout, and Essential polling suggesting that Australians blame the federal government.

The ANU longitudinal study of 3,286 adults found only 3.6% of Australians thought the vaccine rollout was going very well, with a further 32.7% saying it was going somewhat well.

More than 42% responded that the rollout is going “not too well” and 21.2% said it is “not going at all well”.

Report co-author, Nicholas Biddle, said that those intending to vote for a party other than the Coalition were “less likely to think the process was going well”.

Almost half of voters who intended to vote for the Coalition said the vaccine rollout was going well, declining to 30% of those who would vote for Labor and 27% of those voting for the Greens.

The survey found more people would be willing to take a “safe and effective” vaccine, with the proportion saying they definitely would increasing from 43.7% in January to 54.7% in April, although this is still lower than in August.

In April, a further 28.2% said they “probably” would get a safe and effective vaccine. Just 11.1% said they probably wouldn’t and 6% said they definitely wouldn’t.

The survey found a very large proportion of Australians were concerned about possible side-effects if they do take a vaccine. Just 18.4% of respondents were not at all concerned about side-effects, meaning more than eight-in-10 Australians had at least some concerns.

Respondents were asked about reasons that make them not want to get a vaccine. The most commonly cited reason for being hesitant was concern about possible side-effects (63.3%), followed by those planning to “wait and see” (55%).

The ANU study concluded the best way to combat hesitancy “could be to accelerate the vaccination roll out as quickly as possible” to reach this group.

Around half the sample (50.4%) cited the revelation the AstraZeneca vaccine could cause rare blood clots as the cause for their hesitancy. Other reasons were they didn’t know if the vaccine would work (31.6%), they didn’t trust Covid vaccines (26.7%) or they didn’t trust the government (18.9%).

The study found despite overall vaccine willingness remaining stable since January, some groups remain hesitant, such as people who speak a language other than English.

There was also a high correlation between vaccine hesitancy and experience of discrimination. The paper concluded a campaign to tackle discrimination could therefore have “further potential benefits in terms of vaccine willingness”.

Probing the factors for vaccine hesitancy in particular groups, women were more likely to say they were concerned about side-effects and possible blood clots from the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Indigenous Australians were more likely to say they didn’t trust the Covid-19 vaccines.

People who live in a non-capital city were more concerned about the vaccine not working and more likely to say that they do not need a vaccine.

Despite other concerns about the rollout, the vast majority of Australians said the process was very fair (32.4%) or somewhat fair (53.3%).

Given Australia’s extremely low levels of Covid-19, respondents were feeling generous about helping others first, with 67.6% saying Australia “should help ensure that people in developing countries have access to coronavirus vaccines, even if it means some people in Australia need to wait longer”.

Locally-manufactured AstraZeneca vaccines will be administered to over 50s through mass vaccination clinics and GPs from mid-May, despite the fact large numbers of people in priority cohorts including disability care residents are yet to be vaccinated.

Australia has bought an extra 20m Pfizer doses, but an estimated 70% of the total order of 40m is expected to come in the final three months of the year.

Scott Morrison has suggested a 12-week sprint will be needed to complete vaccination of the rest of the adult population by the year’s end.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Almost two-thirds of Australians think Covid vaccine rollout is not going well, survey suggests | Health

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