Community consultation sheds light on North Coast vaccine perceptions


SIXTY per cent of North Coast residents who responded to a community consultation on COVID-19 vaccination either plan to be vaccinated or have been already.

A further 18% said they would probably have the vaccine, 10% said they probably wouldn’t and 12% rejected the idea of COVID-19 vaccination.

Healthy North Coast, which delivers the Australian Government’s PHN program from Tweed Heads to Port Macquarie and inland, partnered with 89 Degrees East to develop the short online survey.

It ran from 14 April to 15 May 2021 and attracted more than 1,000 respondents.

Healthy North Coast CEO, Julie Sturgess, thanked all participants for sharing their thoughts and feedback.

“These responses from across the community help us to understand local sentiment, what people are thinking and how we can best serve their needs,” Ms Sturgess said.

“We’re interested in people’s views on vaccination and we’re carefully studying the feedback we’ve received, to help shape the local rollout of the vaccine program.

“In the meantime, Healthy North Coast will continue to support our primary health carers and the community to stay COVID-safe right across the region.’

Key findings from the survey include:

· 22% of 35–44-year-olds say they would ‘definitely not’ get the COVID-19 vaccine

· healthcare workers are more likely to be ‘vaccine champions’ (43%), as are over 65s

· The local government areas of Byron, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Lismore and Port Macquarie-Hastings indicated strong support for getting a COVID-19 vaccine, with more than 60% of respondents saying they had had a vaccine already or were definitely intending to.

· More than 30% of respondents from the local government areas of Bellingen, Kyogle, Richmond Valley and Tweed said they probably wouldn’t or definitely wouldn’t get a vaccine.

The survey found 56% of people who support vaccination intend to get the jab when the vaccine is available to them.
This compares to 42% from a national survey in April.

Ms Sturgess said it was understandable there was a level of vaccine hesitancy.

She said Healthy North Coast would continue to provide the community with evidence-based information and guidance while supporting the Australian Government’s national vaccine rollout.

“As we look to analyse and understand the survey results with other health sector partners, we expect to provide additional information on the findings and how they can help us tailor our approach to local communication, resourcing and engagement,” she said.

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