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Amid threat of mutant strains, expert warns against Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy

“Not to hesitate to get the coronavirus vaccines”, a leading epidemiologist expert has advised Australians, saying procrastination could expose them to a higher chance of being infected by a mutant strain.

Nine newspaper published new statistics that found a third of adults are ‘unlikely’ to get the vaccination, citing concerns over side effects and the belief there isn’t a rush so long as international borders remain closed.

One of Australia’s leading epidemiologists, Professor Mary-Louise McLaws, says the results of the survey are “very damaging” to the nation’s recovery.

“Yesterday we had an amazing day of 100,000 injections and that’s what we need every day for a year to be able to say that we are safe to open our borders,” Prof McLaws told Weekend Today.

“When we do open our borders, we will have the ‘variants of concern’, those very, very transmissible infections.
“I would be going for about 85 per cent of adults (vaccinated).”

If one in three is hesitant, that will mean that the Australian population will be at a greater risk of a serious infection, she said.

“All we have to do is watch the news and see what’s happening in India and see the deaths,” she said.

“That’s the variant of concern and – in India. It will come to Australia. Other variants will come. The longer we don’t get vaccinated, the greater the risk of a mutation.”

She added that the “biggest group” who should be targeted in a vaccine drive were the 20 to 39-year-olds.

“Because if we can get them vaccinated the majority of them, then we can ring-fence the rest of the community.”

Especially during the second wave, this demographic made up 50 per cent of all COVID cases last year in Australia.

The government should be spending more money to encourage vaccination uptake, Prof McLaws added.

“We need every 20 to 39-year-old hearing an ad that they can identify with,” she said.

Effects of the survey come after reports that more than 200 GPs have left out of the vaccination rollout nationwide over random supplies.

Several doctors have spoken out against allotted vaccine supplies, saying that they have the capacity to offer the vaccines, but not the inventory.


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