Australians will be urged to ‘arm up’ against COVID-19 and get vaccinated, as the Federal Government launches a major revamped COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Sunday to help chart a course out of the global pandemic .
Doctors’ groups such as the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners have for some time been calling for the advertising campaign to be reset, amid concerns over growing hesitancy to vaccination in the community due to changing medical advice on extremely rare blood clots caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine for under 60s.
The current campaign has also been criticized by sections of the advertising industry for being dull and unemotional, particularly compared to campaigns in other countries such as the UK, Singapore and New Zealand.
The new $41 million campaign will cover TV, radio, newspaper, online and outdoor advertising and will replace the current campaign led by former deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth. Culturally and linguistically diverse communities, which in some cases have shown higher rates of vaccine hesitancy, will be the focus of the campaign.
The “Arm Yourself” theme — which will come shortly after Lt. Gen. John Frewen was appointed as the federal government’s Operation COVID Shield vaccine campaign coordinator — is likely to provoke community debate.
Previews of ads seen by Sunday age and The Herald of the Sun show ordinary Australians displaying bandages on their arms after receiving a vaccination and will urge people to ‘arm you’, ‘arm your community’, ‘arm your family’, ‘arm your family’ and even ‘arm your grandmother’ “.
Getting vaccinated is “your best defense and our only way forward. Now is the time to arm yourself, your family, friends, co-workers and your community,” the ads state.
General Frewen said last month that the new advertising campaign had been delayed due to the lack of supply of Pfizer vaccines in Australia for people under 60. But with the number of Pfizer doses arriving in Australia eventually reaching one million a week from July 19, and rising to around 1.2 million a week in August, the campaign is now ready to roll.