Australians are more hesitant to take up COVID-19 boosters now than they were when the roll out began last year, a new survey has found.
But the analysis shows it’s not because of vaccine misinformation or resistance, but disengagement from information about COVID-19 among some groups.
The survey conducted by the Australian National University shows less than half of all double-vaccinated Australians aged 18 and over have had their booster.
It also found young Australians aged 18 to 24, Indigenous Australians, people with low education, and those who live in disadvantaged areas, are less likely to have received a third dose of a COVID vaccine.
In January, the ANU survey of more than 3400 adults found about four-in-10 Australians – or 41.5 per cent – had received a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Study co-author Nicholas Biddle says 65.4 per cent of people surveyed confirmed they would definitely get a booster compared to 71.9 per cent in a survey conducted in October.
“The findings suggest that booster uptake is not due to active resistance … but rather because people either do not have that much information about the need for a third dose or because they have made a judgement that it is not necessary for them,” he said.
“The experience of the first two doses, particularly side effects, may also have made some reluctant to seek out a third dose.”
Although Australia had high success nationally with the initial rollout – where 94.4 per cent of people over 16 years have had two doses – the ANU analysis shows there is no guarantee that success will be repeated in the booster rollout.
“There is a very large proportion of adult Australians who are eligible for a booster but have not yet done so, with many of these individuals likely to have waning immunity from their first two doses,” Professor Biddle said.
On Thursday another 42 COVID-19 deaths were reported across Australia.
Of those, 16 were in Victoria, 12 were in NSW, eight were in Queensland and three were in South Australia.
Western Australia recorded another big day of infections with 617 recorded, a week out from the reopening of its hard border with the rest of the country.
Nationally, more than 25,000 COVID-19 infections were recorded on Thursday – 8271 in NSW, 6715 in Victoria, 6094 in Queensland, 1735 in SA, 853 in Tasmania, 661 in the ACT and 757 in the NT.