Australia on Friday pressed over-50s to get their coronavirus shots, as fears mounted vaccine hesitancy could be priming the country for disaster.
Australia is one of the few countries to eliminate COVID-19 community transmission, but vaccine rollout has been slow.
After chronic delivery delays, there is growing evidence that older Australians are more concerned about the AstraZeneca vaccine’s side effects than catching the virus.
The Prime Minister said, “I encourage those over 50 to get the jab, and if you are over 70, I would very much encourage you to.”
Trying to ease concerns about widely publicised risks of blood clotting, he added, “My mother has had it, my mother-in-law has had it, and they are doing great.”
The World Health Organization recommends continued use of the AstraZeneca shot, arguing that the benefits far outweigh the associated rare risk of clots.
But only 42% of Australians say they would get vaccinated.