A revamped advertising campaign encouraging Australians to “arm yourself” against COVID-19 has been unveiled by the federal government.
- The campaign will be released on social media, billboards, television, print and radio
- Previous advertising campaigns have been criticised as lacklustre
- The opposition says the new campaign is not any better
Public health experts and the federal opposition have been calling for a refreshed public awareness campaign to boost vaccination rates amid concerns over growing community hesitancy, complacency, and confusion over when and where the jabs are available.
The existing ads, featuring former Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth, have been described as lacklustre when compared to overseas campaigns.
In the United States, ads show former presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter getting vaccinated, while the UK has recruited the star power of Elton John and Michael Caine.
Singapore and New Zealand have produced more elaborate ads with singing and dancing ensembles.
The new campaign, which shows ordinary Australians revealing bandaids on their arms after getting immunised, will roll out across TV, radio, print, billboards, and social media.
It will urge Australians “now is the time to arm yourself”, “your family”, “your friends”, “your workmates”, “your community” and “someone you love”.
“A COVID-19 vaccine is your best defence and our only way forward,” is the central message.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese said he was unimpressed by the long-awaited ads.
“We have been saying for some time that there needed to be a public information campaign, but I’m not sure that this cuts it frankly,” Mr Albanese told the ABC’s Insiders.
“We were the best in the world in the campaign against AIDS, we’ve done [campaigns against] drink-driving very well, but after 18 months if this is the best they can do, they need to go back to the drawing board.”
Campaign released in time for arrival of more Pfizer doses
Last week Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new phase of the government’s public communications campaign was timed to align with Pfizer vaccine stocks arriving soon arrive.
“It coincides neatly with the additional supply that has been brought forward to support the vaccination program,” Mr Morrison said.
Supplies of the Pfizer jab are due to progressively ramp up, reaching 1 million doses a week in the second half of July.
While just under 11 per cent of the eligible adult population has been fully vaccinated, senior government frontbencher Peter Dutton said the bigger shipments would be a “game changer”.
He dismissed suggestions the government botched the vaccine rollout and argued there had been a “bit of complacency” within the Australian community.
“People think they are not going to get the virus or that this is not a problem for Australia,” Mr Dutton told Sky News on Sunday.
“People, if they’ve had hesitancy, they should take the advice of their GP.
“Go and see the GP and get the AstraZeneca, get Pfizer, get whatever your doctor is advising, whatever is available, as quickly as possible because this Delta strain is a very different scenario.”