A new survey has found that while around three-quarters of Australians plan to get the coronavirus jab once it is available, doubts remain for an alarming 24 per cent of us.
That’s according to new University of Melbourne research based on a January survey of more than 1000 Aussies regarding their attitudes to COVID-19 policies, including the vaccine rollout which is now under way.
The research revealed support for Australia’s coronavirus stance was high overall, as was trust in the Federal Government, the chief medical officer and medical scientists.
Meanwhile, 70 per cent of us said the rules “designed to reduce the spread of COVID” had been applied fairly, with 66 per cent saying they had been introduced effectively and 71 per cent claiming they had been carried out successfully.
And 76 per cent of us plan to get the jab as soon as possible, with 73 per cent supporting compulsory vaccination of the entire population and 51 per cent agreeing that government benefits should be dependent upon proof of vaccination.
However, the survey found almost a quarter of respondents still had doubts about the vaccine, which echoes the findings of an ANU study released earlier this month which found there had been a “substantial increase in vaccine resistance and hesitancy and a large decline in vaccine likeliness” between August 2020 and January 2021.
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The “Change in vaccine willingness in Australia: August 2020 to January 2021” report found that “combined, 21.7 per cent of Australians said they probably or definitely would not get a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine in January 2021, a significant and substantial increase from the 12.7 per cent of Australians who gave the same responses in August 2020”.
But co-director of the University of Melbourne’s Policy Lab, associate professor Aaron Martin, said there was greater support for COVID-19 policies among the Australian population than in other like nations.
“We also find that when it comes to COVID-19 information citizens trust information coming from government almost as much as they trust information coming from scientists. This is not always the case in other comparable democracies,” he said.
Prof Martin said studying trust in government was essential as it was often linked to social compliance, adherence to future policy decisions and overall effectiveness in responding to the pandemic.
“We had 84 per cent of respondents state that they trusted information coming from the Federal Government ‘a lot’ or ‘a little’,” he said.
“This figure was comparable to the trust respondents expressed in information coming from the chief medical officer (87 per cent), medical scientists (88 per cent) and their relevant state/territory (83 per cent) government.
“These findings suggest that trends toward lower levels of trust in government do not translate into distrust of COVID information.”