Phew! Australian vaccine hesitancy keeps dropping

As the vaccine rollout continues around the country, fewer people are reluctant to roll up their sleeves. It means we could reach a high rate of fully vaccinated people and that’s fantastic.

If social media and a certain ex-Bachelorette star were to be believed, you’d think the rate of vaccine hesitancy in Australia was at high enough levels to be really concerned about.

Thankfully, they’re largely not. An update from Melbourne University’s Taking the Pulse of The Nation survey has found the number of people unwilling to get the jab continues to drop, from 15 percent in the last week of September to 13.3 percent on the 10th of October.

This could be due to a range of factors, including individuals witnessing how effective the vaccines are in driving down case numbers, seeing friends and loved ones experience few side effects, and overall feeling assured by the vaccines’ safety.

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If these trends continue, Australia could see an 87 percent fully vaccinated population over the age of 12, keeping in mind children under that age are not eligible to be inoculated yet.

The only state where vaccine hesitancy has increased is South Australia, jumping from 14.8 percent to 19.2 percent in the last month, though the survey does not go into detail as to why that’s the case.

For the nation as a whole, though, it’s fantastic news. As of yesterday, 83.2 percent of Australians over the age of 16 had received one dose; 64.4 percent were fully vaccinated.

Worldwide, the numbers of weekly Covid-related deaths have fallen to the lowest in a year, according to the World Health Organization.

“Deaths are highest in the countries and populations with the least access to vaccines,” WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said today in a press conference.

While some wealthy countries begin their rollout of booster shots and third doses, vaccine inequity groups are advocating for the prioritisation of developing nations.

More than 50 countries, most of which are in Africa, did not meet the deadline of vaccinating 10 percent of their population by September.

It’s not due to hesitancy, although that is a small factor in places like South Africa where it had risen among 18-25-year-olds. Instead, vaccine supply and health infrastructure issues, as well as conflict or civil unrest, are to blame.

The WHO is aiming for 40 percent of the world’s population to be vaccinated by the end of 2021, but the Covax vaccine-sharing scheme says that’s unlikely if vaccine inequity isn’t addressed.

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