Almost one-third of adult Australians say they are unlikely to be vaccinated against coronavirus in a concerning new sign for the troubled national rollout.
An alarming poll published by Nine Entertainment has found doubts about side effects top the list of reasons for vaccine hesitancy.
Many people also believe there is no rush to take the jab while the international borders remain closed – a reality until 2022.
The survey found 15 per cent of people said they were not at all likely to receive the vaccine, while another 14 per cent said they were not very likely.
Scott Morrison is keen to focus on the more than 70 per cent of people who are happy to have the vaccine.
"I would encourage them to go and make that booking," he told Newcastle radio 2HD on Wednesday.
"If you are over 50, go and do that with your GP now. The state government is setting up other clinics to do the same thing. So I would just encourage people to get on and do it."
The prime minister was also keen to point out only a small proportion of those surveyed were "hard against" receiving the jab, saying that was fairly normal with most vaccines.
'Low vaccination rates —the greatest risk to Australia's health'
Victoria's Chief Health Medical Officer Brett Sutton, however, was less rosy about the polling results.
"Disappointing to see such sentiments," he said.
"Low vaccination coverage is the greatest risk to health in Australia today."
Mr Morrison said the number of vaccinations in Australia had surpassed three million and continued to climb each day, despite initially projecting four million jabs by the end of March, nearly three months ago.
"It's an important part of what we are doing — it's not the only part of what we are doing — and it's important we all work together to achieve that," he said.
The federal government has spent months arguing there is no urgency on vaccines and more recently concerns have been raised about the efficacy of the AstraZeneca jab.
How come there is no national campaign telling people to get vaccinated? I’ve literally seen more marketing for @HamiltonMusical than I have for public health.
— Leigh Sales (@leighsales) May 18, 2021
Experts seek to allay fears of vaccine among over 50s
Liz Chatwin, the president of AstraZeneca in Australia and New Zealand, has sought to ease concerns among people aged over 50 who are feeling some hesitancy about getting the vaccine.
"The AstraZeneca vaccine is highly effective — it has actually been used in tens of millions of people around the world, and in the vast majority of people it is extremely well tolerated," she told the ABC.
Ms Chatwin said blood clots linked to the vaccine were extremely rare, with just 18 cases reported in Australia out of 1.8 million vaccinations.
"Those rates are very similar to what have been seen overseas but the difference here in Australia, the experts are saying, is that the cases appear to be more mild," she said.
"They are speculating this is because there is high awareness here in Australia, physicians don't have the huge strain of treating Covid-19 in our healthcare system, so they have been diagnosed earlier and managed really effectively with good outcomes."
Ms Chatwin said the number of blood clots linked to the vaccine also needed to be put in context.
"Experts have reported there are 50 blood clots every day in Australia from a multitude of different causes, so that just underlines how rare this condition is," she said.
"I would just encourage people, the only way to end this pandemic is for people to come forward and receive the vaccine that's offered.
"It's really not just for ourselves, but it's for our friends, our family, our neighbours and for the community as a whole."
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