Australia launches $11m advert marketing campaign to encourage uptake of Covid boosters and flu vaccines | Well being

A brand new promoting marketing campaign will launch on Thursday urging Australians to get their Covid booster pictures forward of an anticipated spike in circumstances over winter, with the federal well being minister, Mark Butler, warning the nation was “nonetheless very a lot on this pandemic”.

Butler stated the brand new Labor authorities had no plan to increase fourth vaccine doses to the overall inhabitants or to increase Covid guidelines like density limits and masks mandates, even because the nation information tons of of deaths per week.

“The case numbers would possibly even climb once more, as we see the next prevalence of the BA4 and BA5 variants,” he stated in Canberra.

The federal well being division will launch an $11m six-week marketing campaign encouraging folks to get vaccinated in opposition to each Covid and seasonal influenza. Below the title Tackle winter, Australians are advised “it’s protected to get each on the identical time”, with advert campaigns significantly focused at First Nations communities, youngsters below 11, and folks in aged care.

Federal well being knowledge reveals that greater than 95% of Australians over 16 have had two doses of a Covid vaccine, and 70.3% have had a 3rd or booster dose. Amongst folks aged over 65 and eligible for a fourth or so-called “winter” dose, simply 55.1% have taken that possibility.

Lower than 40% of kids aged 5-11 have acquired two doses of a vaccine. Amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, 81.4% over the age of 16 are absolutely vaccinated.

“For the primary time since 2019, we’ve got the double menace of great group transmission of each Covid-19 and influenza – with the probably consequence being a continued enhance in case numbers over coming months,” Butler’s workplace stated in a press release on Thursday.

He confused that whereas Covid remained a “gentle to average” sickness for many individuals who had been vaccinated, it was nonetheless very critical for some. Butler famous that about one in 20 hospital beds nationwide, or about 3,000, had been occupied by somebody with Covid, and that greater than 300 folks in Australia had been dying every week.

Information monitoring web site reported 361 deaths and greater than 196,000 circumstances nationwide within the final seven days, together with 62 deaths and 32,900 circumstances on Thursday alone.

“We’re nonetheless seeing huge lack of life, huge dislocation and big stress on our well being and hospital programs,” Butler stated.

The brand new well being minister stated the earlier Coalition authorities had “lacked power” in encouraging uptake of booster pictures, and that Labor needed a extra enthusiastic uptake of third doses for the overall inhabitants or fourth doses for aged folks and people with critical well being circumstances.

Separate advert campaigns focusing on youngsters, First Nations Australians and aged folks will run throughout tv, radio and on-line channels.

Butler stated he and Malarndirri McCarthy, the assistant minister for Indigenous Australians and Indigenous Well being, would meet with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisory teams to additional enhance vaccine uptake. Minister for aged care, Anika Wells, has written to aged care suppliers to remind them to make fourth doses out there for residents, whereas the well being division is contacting amenities to schedule vaccine clinics on-site.

The federal government can also be urging sufferers and GPs to contemplate using oral antiviral remedies – together with the medication Lagevrio and Paxlovid – to guard in opposition to the virus.

However whereas encouraging aged folks to take up fourth doses, Butler stated Australian authorities had been nonetheless recommending solely a 3rd dose for the overall inhabitants at this stage – although additional analysis on the query was being “monitored”.

“The world over, I believe there’s normal acceptance there’s no proof proper now that the fourth dose is especially referred to as for, for youthful individuals who don’t have compromised immunity,” he stated.

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Butler stated he anticipated Australian well being authorities to evaluate vaccine eligibility for youngsters below 5, after the American Meals and Drug Administration gave emergency authorisation for that age group in latest days.

Butler stated Australian authorities didn’t have exact modelling on what affect new Covid variants might have on case numbers or deaths, or for charges of reinfection. However he basically dominated out reintroducing or increasing public well being measures like vaccine mandates, masks guidelines or density limits in public areas.

Butler stated the Labor authorities was targeted on different measures round encouraging vaccination or the uptake of oral medication to combat Covid.

“I don’t suppose that’s foreseeable and I don’t suppose public well being authorities are suggesting that might be the case, that there’s any probability of recommendation round these outdated public well being measures that had been such a characteristic of life in 2020 and 2021,” he stated.

“I believe Australians are glad to see that within the rear imaginative and prescient mirror, however there are measures we do proceed to encourage Australians to take to maintain our group protected.”

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