'Graphic' COVID ad hits Sydney TV screens

·2-min read

A "graphic" COVID-19 advertisement will air on Sydney television screens to highlight the seriousness of the disease.

In the short commonwealth-funded TV ad, a young woman on a ventilator struggles to breathe in a hospital bed as her heart monitor beeps.

She slowly makes eye contact with the camera and gasps for air as a message reads: "COVID-19 can affect anyone. Stay home. Get tested. Book your vaccination."

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said the Australian government had specifically commissioned the ad because of the intensifying outbreak in NSW.

"We are only doing this because of the situation in Sydney and it will be running in Sydney," he told reporters in Canberra.

"It is quite graphic and it is meant to be graphic - it is meant to really push that message home."

A 90-year-old southwest Sydney woman became the first death of the outbreak on Saturday, just hours after being diagnosed with COVID.

Of the 52 NSW COVID-19 patients in hospital, 15 are in intensive care and seven of them are under the age of 55.

"The Delta variant is much more infectious and is impacting younger cohorts more than previous variants," a federal government spokesman said.

"The clip encourages people in NSW to book their vaccination, but also to highlight the need to stay home and get tested."

Vaccine task force leader Lieutenant General John Frewen said it would only run in Sydney, while the "Arm Yourself" campaign would be aired nationwide.

The less-confronting ad shows a series of bare arms with band-aids stuck on to signify they have had the jab.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said it missed the mark.

"We were the best in the world in the campaign against AIDS, we've done drink-driving very well," he told ABC's Insiders program on Sunday.

"But after 18 months if this is the best they can do, they need to go back to the drawing board."

Lt Gen Frewen said the Arm Yourself campaign will be adapted and tailored in the coming months as more Pfizer and Moderna vaccines arrive from overseas.

"It is really October, November and December where we had the vast amounts of vaccine coming through," he said.

"So we do wish to build up through the year."

By then, he said Australians can expect something more akin to the celebrity and song and dance-driven vaccination advertising campaigns rolled out in New Zealand and Singapore.

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