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The ‘great unmentioned’ Neil Mitchell says Australia’s vaccination campaign fails to acknowledge

Neil Mitchell
Article image for The ‘great unmentioned’ Neil Mitchell says Australia’s vaccination campaign fails to acknowledge

Neil Mitchell says the federal government’s $41 million advertising campaign to encourage Australians to get vaccinated against COVID-19 fails to address a crucial “unmentioned” component of vaccination hesitancy.

The federal government has launched two 30-second ads.

  • Scroll down to see the two new ads

“One is a scare campaign aimed particularly at Sydney, a young woman struggling to breathe as she lies in hospital. It is confronting,” the 3AW Mornings host said.

“The other campaign is bland. It sounds like any boring ad written by somebody in Canberra for somebody living in South Yarra.

“There is a great unmentioned in this debate — vaccine hesitancy is highest amongst ethnic populations. That’s no reason to vilify them but it’s a reason to target them, target their leaders, target the media, get the message through.”

Press PLAY below to hear what Neil Mitchell thought of the ads

Director of RedBridge Group Australia, a company which has conducted social research into COVID-19 attitudes, Kos Samaras, says the feedback in diverse communities is “one of anxiety towards our health system”.

“Many of these communities come from parts of the world where disease and ailments of this nature are effectively ostracised,” he said.

“If you’re living in Somalia and you become ill with a disease that doesn’t have a cure, that is transmittable and can affect others, that usually results in ostracisation. It doesn’t result in going to hospital.”

Mr Samaras says while the federal government’s ‘arm yourself’ ad is great for people who are “tuned in, and educated, and get the message”, it won’t reach the people who need it most.

“For the communities that we need to actually get vaccinated, that do pose a great risk to themselves and also to the broader Australian community, that message is just not going to cut through,” he said.

Mr Samaras is urging Australia to adopt an American strategy to boost vaccination in ethnic communities.

“In the US if you’re a nurse and you come from a lower socioeconomic community … what they will do is they will encourage that nurse, once they’ve received their vaccine they send an email or they contact five of their relatives and book in their vaccination appointments.

“So they actually have people that are respected at a family level, at a community level within these communities, actually advocating for the bookings, which is incredibly powerful, rather than relying on some central media campaign.”

Press PLAY below to hear what Mr Samaras thinks should be done to get the vaccination message though to diverse communities

Image: Australian Department of Health

 

Neil Mitchell
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