Campaign to encourage complacent Australians to get boosted

Healthed

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Healthed

Healthed

 

The Immunisation Coalition has launched a campaign called ‘Take It From Me’ to encourage Australians to get boosted.

The campaign is in response to data showing that Australians are growing complacent about the pandemic, including a recent survey of GPs by Healthed, which found that the most common reason that patients aren’t getting boosters is because they believe the pandemic is over.

Less than three-quarters of Australians (71.6%) aged 16 years and over having had three or more COVID-19 vaccinations.

“A recent national survey of GPs reported that the most common reason why their patients weren’t getting their booster doses was that many people think the pandemic crisis is over,” the press release said.

Kim Sampson, the CEO of the Immunisation Coalition, said there are still challenges in getting Australians to have their COVID-19 booster vaccinations.

In response to these challenges the Immunisation Coalition has launched a consumer campaign to warn Australians who haven’t yet had their booster vaccinations that while winter may now be behind us, COVID-19 is by no means over.

“The ‘Take it From Me’ campaign aims to encourage complacent Australians to get boosted, and that it is not too late.

Many Australians now dealing with debilitating symptoms from long-COVID, said respiratory physician Associate Professor Lou Irving, a member of the Immunisation Coalition’s scientific advisory committee who sees patients attending the Royal Melbourne Hospital Post-COVID Clinic.

The Royal Melbourne Hospital Post-COVID Clinic regularly sees new patients dealing with long-COVID, with respiratory specialists seeing up to 12 patients a week.

There also continues to be hospitalisations from COVID-19 and, as at August 29, there were 3,004 COVID-19 cases in hospital across the country.

Professor Irving said whether COVID-19 affects people acutely or long term, vaccination is critical to protecting people against severe illness, hospitalisation and long-COVID.

His advice for the public is to “do everything you can to avoid COVID-19” which means getting up to date with vaccinations, using masks when indoors in public settings and also in crowded outdoor events like the football or at racing carnivals where there are crowds of people with aerosol generating behaviour – shouting and screaming for their team or horse.

Immunisation Coalition board member Associate Professor Paul Griffin said healthcare professionals need to tell patients that unfortunately we cannot predict the scale and severity of future waves of infection.

“If people are complacent, thinking the vaccinations they have had are enough, then there’s every chance that they will get infected, probably in the not-too-distant future,” said Professor Griffin.

Mr Sampson said this winter had been particularly brutal for many Australians with a virulent flu season, lots of different viruses circulating, including RSV, norovirus and of course COVID-19.

“As we are now in the footy finals season with large crowds of fans from across the country travelling and gathering, it’s important we are aware that we can protect ourselves and our loved ones with vaccination,” he said.

“We want to increase the urgency to get vaccinated now, jolt the “post-pandemic” mindset of vaccine-complacent Australians and give them compelling reasons to act.

“In a world where social media makes everyone look perfect, it’s easy to forget that we’re all just human and doing the best we can. Most of us are not perfect and forget important things that may be consequential, such as forgetting to get the next booster vaccination for COVID-19.”

References:

  1. https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2022/08/covid-19-vaccine-rollout-update-26-august-2022-covid-19-vaccination-vaccination-data-26-august-2022.pdf Accessed August 26, 2022.
  2. HealthEd Webcast (July 2022). GP Survey. COVID.
  3. https://www.health.gov.au/health-alerts/covid-19/case-numbers-and-statistics#cases-admitted-to-hospital Accessed 310822, 2022.
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