Almost two-thirds of adult Australians, 64 percent, think the Government’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout is not being handled well, a study from The Australian National University (ANU) shows.
The study also found there’s been a small decline in the proportion of people who would not take a safe and effective vaccine, though many Australians remain highly concerned about potential side effects.
The study, led by the ANU Center for Social Research and Methods, also found 33 percent of Australians thought the way vaccines were being rolled out was very fair, alongside 53 percent who said it was somewhat fair.
“These findings are extremely important as the Government attempts to reconcile public sentiment and confidence in its vaccine program at a time when there are questions about how fast it is being delivered across our community,” study co-author Professor Biddle said.
Professor Nicholas Biddle noted the study’s findings showed clear divisions in people’s attitudes to the vaccine rollout based on political views.
“Those who had said they would vote for a party grouping other than the Coalition were less likely to think the process was going well,” Professor Biddle said. “While still under half of the population, 45.3 percent of those who said they would vote for the Coalition said the vaccine process was going well.
“This declines to 29.9 percent among Australians who said they would have voted Labor, 27 percent of those who said they would have voted for the Greens, 33.3 percent of those who would have voted for an ‘other’ party, and 25 percent of those who did not know who they would vote for.”
Responses in Australia are very different to responses in the US.
Americans were far more likely than Australians to think the vaccination process was going very well or somewhat well than in Australia, but Americans were less likely to think the process was very fair.
In more positive news, the study found there has been an increase in the number of Australians who say they would get a ‘safe and effective vaccine’ between January and April 2021.
“When we asked a similar question in January, only 43.7 percent of Australians said they would definitely get a safe vaccine. This jumped to 54.7 percent in April,” Professor Biddle said.
“However, this number is still lower compared to August 2020 when we first asked the question, with 58.5 percent of Australians saying they’d get a safe vaccine at that point in time.
“Even so, it would appear that willingness to receive a hypothetical safe and effective vaccine has stayed quite high.”
The study shows there is a very large proportion of Australians who are concerned about possible side effects if they do take a current vaccine. Less than one-in-five, 18.4 percent, weren’t concerned about side effects.
In contrast, 39.5 percent of Australians were slightly concerned, 20.3 percent were moderately concerned, and 21.8 percent were very concerned. Women and people who speak a language other than English were the two groups most concerned about potential side effects.
Concerns about side effects were the main reason Australians said they wouldn’t take a hypothetical vaccine, accounting for 63 percent of people who don’t want the shot.
“On top of that, 50.4 percent of people who said they wouldn’t take a vaccine said their decision was based on recent news about the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clotting,” Professor Biddle said.
“In the same group, 31.6 percent said they didn’t know if the vaccine would work, 26.7 said they didn’t trust COVID vaccines and 18.9 percent said they didn’t trust the government.”
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