One in three 'unlikely' to receive vaccine
Scott Morrison has played down new polling that suggests one-third of Australian adults are unwilling to be vaccinated against coronavirus.
The prime minister said he was not overly troubled by the vaccine hesitancy, but conceded it was something authorities needed to work on.
He is more interested in the 70 per cent of respondents who are keen to receive their jabs.
"Let's just get on with them," Mr Morrison said on Wednesday.
"There's plenty of time to have the chat with the others who are a bit hesitant. That's alright, it's a free country and they should talk to their doctor.
"Those who are hardcore against it is a much smaller number - a much, much smaller number - but there are others who are open to the conversation and we will have that."
An alarming poll published by Nine Entertainment has found almost one in three Australian adults are unlikely to be vaccinated.
Doubts about side effects top the list of reasons for vaccine hesitancy, while many people also believe there is no rush to take the jab while the international borders remain closed.
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.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the record 95,000 people receiving the vaccine in the past 24 hours - taking the national total to 3.28 million doses - would help build confidence.
"The single biggest source of confidence any Australian can have is looking at their friends and family, their mum and dad, their grandma and grandpa being vaccinated," he told reporters in Brisbane.
Asked whether making available the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, rather than AstraZeneca, to over-50s would allay concerns, Mr Hunt said he wanted to encourage people in that age group to get vaccinated immediately.
"But we've been very clear that as supply increases later on in the year there will be enough vaccine of mRNA vaccines (like Pfizer and Moderna) for every Australian."
Liz Chatwin, the president of AstraZeneca in Australia and New Zealand, has also sought to ease concerns.
"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.
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