Australia’s Minister for Health Greg Hunt has labelled Australia a “vaccination nation,” applauding the country for disregarding those who tout vaccine misinformation and their commitment to tackling vaccine-preventable diseases like influenza and meningococcal disease.
New figures show Australia’s immunisation levels continue to be “world-leading,” with vaccination rates among 5-year-olds hitting a record 95.09% in December 2020 — significantly higher than the World Health Organisation’s international average of 86%.
"Reaching our target of 95% supports herd immunity to stop the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases,” Hunt said in a media release. “Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, parents followed expert health advice and continued to take their children to receive their shots.”
Among the 5-year-old cohort, Indigenous Australian children recorded the most comprehensive rate, at 97.25%.
Australia-wide, coverage for 1-year-olds and 2-year-olds hit 94.85% and 92.55%, respectively.
From the start of the pandemic, the COVID-19 information campaign has been a trusted source of information for the community. The new vaccine campaign will build on this, providing timely, transparent and credible information to all Australians. pic.twitter.com/W7fTfW8ApT— Greg Hunt (@GregHuntMP) January 27, 2021
Hunt says the figures show Australia has the potential to become a global leader in COVID-19 vaccination coverage.
“[Australians] recognise how important vaccination is, and how it protects and saves lives,” he said.
On Wednesday, Australia kicked off its $23.9 million public information campaign, designed to dispel COVID-19 vaccine myths, provide information about how, where and when to receive the vaccine and reaffirm that all approved vaccines go through the nation’s Therapeutic Goods Administration.
"Our approach will be led by what we believe will be the best medical regulator in the world, the Therapeutic Goods Administration,” Hunt said Friday, according to Nine News, in response to concerns that the AstraZeneca vaccine was not safe for people aged over 65. “They are strong, they are independent, they are fearless, they are exactly what you want, they are thorough, and we will be guided by them and their judgements,"
As of Jan. 29, the Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine approved for distribution in Australia.
The first COVID-19 vaccine doses are expected to be delivered in Australia in mid to late February.