ANU: Vast majority of Australians want COVID-19 boosters

More than seven-in-10 vaccinated Australians say they will definitely get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot when it is recommended to them, new analysis from The Australian National University (ANU) shows.

The survey of more than 3,400 people, the largest longitudinal study on the pandemic in Australia, shows 71.9 per cent of adults will get a booster.

Study co-author Professor Nicholas Biddle said despite the strong showing of support for boosters, some Australians remained hesitant about geting an extra COVID-19 vaccine shot.

“Not all Australians have the same willingness to receive a booster vaccine,” Professor Biddle said.

“In our analysis we found males, younger Australians, those who live outside of advantaged areas, those who have not completed Year 12, those who speak a language other than English, and those who have had their first dose vaccination relatively recently are all less willing to receive their ‘third dose’ of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Evidence-based targeted interventions for these groups may be necessary to ensure that immunity disparities do not emerge in 2022 and beyond.”

When respondents were asked about their reasons for being hesitant about a COVID-19 booster, the most common response was thinking that other people would need a COVID-19 vaccine more than they will.

“This reinforces the need to boost supply of COVID-19 vaccines to the region, not only because many countries in the Asia Pacific have very low vaccination rates, but also because it will reassure Australians that they can get a booster without putting others at risk,” Professor Biddle said.

Professor Biddle said the survey also showed that despite recent incredible success, there is still variation in vaccine uptake and willingness across Australia.

“In August 2020 and in particular January 2021, we found high levels of vaccine hesitancy among Australians, with more than two-in-five adults saying they wouldn’t or were unlikely to get vaccinated.

“Since then Australia has become one of the most vaccinated countries in the world.

“However, our study shows that vaccine rates are low in the states and territories that did not experience significant lockdowns during the third wave of COVID-19 infections in Australia, namely Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

“We also found that education and age were two other factors driving vaccine uptake – with older Australians and those with higher levels of education more likely to be vaccinated.”

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