Australians ‘highly concerned’ about COVID vaccine side effects

Anastasia Tsirtsakis

5/05/2021 4:14:08 PM

Though there has been a recent uptick in people who say they would get a ‘safe and effective’ vaccine, according to a new survey.

Person ready to be vaccinated
Recent news about the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clotting was noted as a key factor contributing to people’s concerns. (Image: AAP)

The latest survey data collected by the Australian National University’s Centre for Social Research and Methods in April looked into the country’s willingness to get vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as their concerns.
Among a sample size of 3286 Australians, the study found 54.7% would definitely be willing to get a ‘safe and effective’ vaccine, an increase from 43.7% in January.
But study co-author Professor Nicholas Biddle says while it is a positive trend upwards, willingness is still down from 58.5% in August last year.
‘Even so, it would appear that willingness to receive a hypothetical safe and effective vaccine has stayed quite high,’ he said.
Around 11% said they probably would not be willing to get vaccinated and 6% said they definitely would no’t. Women, people who speak a language other than English, those who live in disadvantaged areas and those who live outside a capital city were the most hesitant cohorts, with more than half saying that they ‘plan to wait and see’ if the vaccine is safe.
Among those who said they are not willing get vaccinated, 63.3% said the main reason is concern about side effects.
The study found 21.8% of people are very concerned about side effects, 20.3% are moderately concerned and 39.5% are slightly concerned, while 18.4% are not concerned at all.
Professor Biddle said recent concerns regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots had emerged as a key factor, with 50.4% basing their decision not to get vaccinated on the recent news.
‘It’s not that the announcement or some of the discussion that’s gone along with it that has made people resistant to get a vaccine in general. It’s made them concerned about a specific vaccine that’s available to them,’ he said.
‘We can certainly take some comfort that people can be reassured, if people can see the vaccine is safe and effective.’
Other reasons cited by people not willing to get vaccinated are that they don’t know if the vaccine will work (31.6%), they don’t trust COVID vaccines (26.7%) and they don’t trust the government (18.9%).
The research also revealed that only 3.7% of Australian think the vaccine rollout is going very well, while almost two-thirds (64%) think it is not being handled well.
Most (53%) think the way vaccines are being rolled out is somewhat fair and 33% think it is very fair, while the majority said that Australia should help ensure that people in developing countries have access to vaccines, even if it means some Australians have to wait longer.
‘These findings are extremely important as the Government attempts to reconcile public sentiment and confidence in its vaccine program at a time when there are questions about how fast it is being delivered across our community,’ Professor Biddle said.
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Dr Wasan Haider Maghazaji   7/05/2021 8:24:49 AM

I think it’s very important to continue a positive & reassuring campaign in media as the main reason of hesitancy to vaccinate is fearing a blood clot as a side effect .