Covid vaccine ad campaign aims to reassure Australians about safety and efficacy of jabs | Health

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The Australian government is seeking to build community confidence in the country’s vaccine approval process as it launches the first phase of a new $24m advertising campaign to allay any fears about the Covid-19 jabs.

But the launch of the campaign on Wednesday has triggered fresh calls for the government to correct misinformation spread by some of its backbenchers, with Labor saying it was “patently absurd” for the Coalition to spend the money if the messages were undermined from its own side.

While health officials say they don’t have a specific target in mind for vaccination uptake, the campaign aims to ensure it is as high as possible.

The health minister, Greg Hunt, said the campaign would be broken into three phases, starting with a focus on assuring people that Covid-19 vaccines “have been put through our world-leading independent approvals process, ensuring both the safety and efficacy of our vaccine candidates”.

The first television advertisement features a number of senior health professionals, including the head of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), Prof John Skerritt, who says: “We only will approve vaccines when we have enough evidence that they work and that they’re safe.”

The advertisement ends with the tagline: “Safe. Effective. Free.”

People are also directed to the health department website to keep up to date on vaccine developments.

Hunt said the second phase of the campaign would provide people with information on how the vaccine would be rolled out, particularly to priority groups, and dosage requirements, he said.

The third and final phase would “inform people about how and where to get vaccinated, dosage requirements, and support vaccine uptake”.

The government aims to build community confidence in the vaccine approval process in the first phase of a new $24m Covid-19 vaccine advertising campaign
The government aims to build community confidence in the vaccine approval process in the first phase of its Covid-19 vaccine advertising campaign. Photograph: Australian Government

The campaign is laying the groundwork for vaccinations to begin in Australia in late February or early March, after the TGA gave provisional approval to the Pfizer vaccine on Monday.

Hunt said the campaign would run across a variety of mediums, including TV, radio, newspapers, digital, social media, mobile, search and outdoor advertising.

It will be worded in a way to “help answer the questions people may have”.

The government has emphasised that it is taking steps to ensure the messages reach the entire community, after previous criticism of the speed and accuracy of multilingual materials being rolled out.

“To ensure the campaign reaches all Australians, special committees representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people with a disability and the multicultural community are informing the communication approach, ensuring communications are appropriate and disseminated through the best communication channels to these communities,” Hunt said.

The Morrison government has launched the first advertisement in its $24m coronavirus vaccination campaign
The Morrison government has launched the first advertisement in its $24m coronavirus vaccination campaign. Photograph: Australian Government

The Labor MP Peta Murphy backed the campaign, but said the government needed to rebuke misinformation spread by some members of the Coalition, such as the Liberal MP Craig Kelly.

“It is patently absurd for the government to spend millions of dollars trying to encourage Australians to be vaccinated, and then have members of the government coming out saying that they won’t take the vaccine, that people shouldn’t believe medical experts,” Murphy told Sky News.

Research commissioned by the health department identified a need to particularly target women aged 30 to 39 regarding concerns about vaccine safety.

The Nine newspapers, which obtained a copy of the research, reported that the Quantum Market Research survey of 1,000 people found the proportion concerned about vaccine safety was around 27% overall, but that rose to 42% among women in their 30s.

Still, about four in five Australians said they were likely to be vaccinated.

Australia’s chief nursing and midwifery officer, Alison McMillan, said while there was no specific target on vaccine uptake, authorities were reassured by the record uptake of the flu shot in Australia last year.

McMillan – who also appears in the first television advertisement – said it was important to provide reliable and accurate information to all Australians about the vaccine rollout so they could have “confidence that it will be safe and effective”.

“This campaign, this advertising now, is just a part of that phased program of providing information to everyone who needs it,” she told the ABC.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Covid vaccine ad campaign aims to reassure Australians about safety and efficacy of jabs | Health

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