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Vaccine advertising campaign needed now to counter misinformation

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Credit:Matt Golding

The national COVID-19 vaccine campaign, which currently involves ads featuring Dr Nick Coatsworth, was being continually updated and revised as different demographics became eligible, the spokeswoman said.

“Work is under way on the next phase of the broader communications campaign, which will be timed with the ramp of the vaccination program. A start date for this new campaign is being finalised,” she said.

But Dr Price said the community needed to know more from trusted sources now, not when the country had more supplies.

“If we wait for supply to increase before ramping up a campaign, we are risking more people becoming hesitant in the meantime,” she said.

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Other countries including New Zealand, Japan and the UK already have advertisements aimed at engaging the population and educating them on vaccinations.

In the meantime GPs were stepping in to answer those questions, Dr Price said. A survey from the college found 92 per cent of members said improvement was needed in the public awareness campaign around vaccines.

“GPs on the frontline delivering these vaccines see that more action is needed,” she said.

Dr Price was also concerned about the work being done to reach targeted groups including people in culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

“It has to be targeted for particular people — pregnant women, breastfeeding women, you know, culturally or linguistically diverse peoples,” she said.

“Now is the time for the government to step up and work harder to communicate to Australians why delaying or avoiding getting the vaccine is so much riskier than getting vaccinated. We are now in the winter months and the situation is only going to get riskier. The time to act is now.”

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