Concerns WA may struggle to get the final 15 per cent of the population vaccinated against Covid-19
Western Australia’s vaccine commander is concerned that more than 15 per cent of the population will wait until Covid-19 spreads through the community before they get the jab, warning that is a “bad choice”.
WA is expected to reach a full vaccination rate of 60 per cent among people aged 16 and over by the end of this week.
Premier Mark McGowan has repeatedly indicated the state government will set a date for reopening WA’s borders after more than 80 per cent of the eligible population are fully vaccinated.
Vaccine commander Chris Dawson said he was concerned about some people waiting too long to get the jab.
“I have great confidence we will exceed 80 per cent fully vaccinated. I have not insignificant concerns about the last 20 per cent,” he told reporters on Monday.
“I think there are, on our research, in the order of four to five per cent of people who have just made their minds up they are not going to get it.
“That is a really sobering choice for them to make because this is a deadly disease.
“What I’m chiefly concerned about, on our research, is that about 15 per cent of the population are just presently hesitating or waiting until the disease arrives in the community and then say: ‘I’ll then do it then’.
“That is a really bad choice to make.”
Mr Dawson also took a swipe at people who were getting their medical advice from unauthorised sources.
“I’ve got no idea who manufactured my tetanus, my whooping cough, my other vaccinations, be it Yellow Fever or even the flu jab,” he said.
“I didn’t know the efficacy. I trusted the medical science ... they’re specialists. It’s all tested through ATAGI and the TGA.
“If you want to go through spurious internet messaging and take that as the premiere medical advice, you are making a very sobering choice.
“That’s why I’ve changed my message somewhat to target that 15 per cent that are just sitting back and they’re apathetic.”
Meanwhile, Health Minister Roger Cook indicated the state government would soon consider downgrading the NSW and Queensland risk categories.
NSW was declared “extreme risk” in August when its rolling average of cases over five or 14 days reached 500 cases, but the number of infections is continuing to fall.
Mr Cook said advice would be sought from the chief health officer regarding the border arrangements, saying WA would always take a cautious approach.
“You saw in Singapore when they opened up even at 80 per cent vaccination rates how they had a big escalation of cases,” he told reporters.
“But the situation in NSW appears to be coming well and truly under control, even though they’re decreasing their public health measures.
“So we’re very much looking forward to being able to receive that advice and make decisions and announcements in the coming days.”
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