Too graphic: Australia's Covid vaccination awareness advertisements backfire

Too graphic: Australia's Covid vaccination awareness advertisements backfire

Two advertisements were released by the federal government over the weekend.

To make people aware of the rise in Covid infections in the country, the Australian government rolled out awareness advertisements. However, these graphic adverts have received negative reviews from locals.

Two advertisements were released by the federal government over the weekend. One showed a young woman gasping for oxygen in a hospital. The aim of the advertisement was to urge people to stay at home and get tested for coronavirus if they develop any symptoms. The other advertisement showed a parade of arms carrying band-aids for after vaccination. With a tagline of "arm yourself against COVID-19", the advertisement encouraged people to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

"That is the message as well with the more difficult, more challenging ad but a deliberately constructed ad which was prepared in anticipation of if there were a major outbreak and approved by the chief medical officer as being the appropriate time to release," federal health minister Greg Hunt told reporters.

However, the general public does not seem pleased by these graphic advertisements as many believe it is a scare tactic that can work opposite to its actual aim. Some experts said the advertisements are very close to scare tactics which can actually increase hesitancy towards vaccination, rather than motivating people to get vaccinated. It can also increase distrust in the government as people would feel manipulated considering the government has used paid actors.

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"We've seen with vaccination in particular that fear campaigns or scary messages about diseases can actually cause people to become more fearful of vaccine side-effects," Dr Jessica Kaufman, a research fellow at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute told the Guardian.

Another fact that backfired at the government was that the advertisements are targeting young people. However, youngsters are not yet eligible for vaccination as the Australian government has failed to procure enough doses to vaccinate all of the adult population.

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