One in four unvaccinated Australians over 70 waiting for ‘different vaccine’, poll finds

More than one in four unvaccinated Australians older than 70 say they haven’t received a jab because they are waiting for a different vaccine, new data suggests.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday released results from a poll on the impact of Covid. The survey asked a range of questions about vaccinations, including the reasons unvaccinated people were yet to receive the jab.

About 15% of all unvaccinated Australians said they had not received it because they wanted a “different vaccine to what was available to them”.

That rate increased significantly to 26% for those aged 70 or above, who are most at risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19. That age cohort has been consistently advised to receive AstraZeneca although those in aged care are receiving Pfizer.

For those aged in their 50s and 60s and unvaccinated, about 35% were waiting for a different vaccine.

A large segment of the unvaccinated population in Australia said they were eligible for the vaccine and knew where to go to get it.

About 48% of those who have not had the jab said they were currently eligible. About 77% of the unvaccinated population knew where to go to get the vaccine.

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The statistics come after a damaging war of words between political leaders and health officials about the AstraZeneca vaccine and an extremely rare clotting side-effect. Doctors have warned the debate has undermined confidence in the effective vaccine and increased hesitancy.

In more positive news, the proportion of Australians saying they would get a vaccine has increased. Those who agreed or strongly agreed that they would get a Covid-19 vaccine increased from 68% in May to 73% in June, as outbreaks again gripped the country. The proportion was 73% in December 2020.

The level of outright opposition to getting a vaccine has remained relatively stable. About 11% of people disagreed or strongly disagreed that they would be vaccinated when it was available and recommended to them.

That is a slight reduction from 13% in May and 12% in December. The most common factor driving the unwillingness to get vaccinated was related to potential side-effects. About half of the respondents who did not want the vaccine raised side-effects as an issue, down from 64% in May.

The data also shows the importance of general practitioners in the rollout.

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The most common factor affecting a person’s willingness to get a vaccine was a recommendation from their GP or health professional. One in four people cited this as a factor in driving them to get vaccinated.

A recommendation from a government health department was the next most common factor (19%). About 54% of those with a disability said they hadn’t had a single dose. The rate was the same for respondents with selected long-term health conditions.

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