Opinion: Shutting borders undermines vaccination message

The federal government needs to provide an incentive to the majority of Australians who say they’re in no rush to be vaccinated – and slamming the borders shut isn’t the answer.  

COVID-19 vaccination ready to be distributed. Photo: Nataliya Vaitkevic, via Pexels

This ‘fortress Australia’ strategy is in danger of undermining the vaccination message. What we need is a coherent road map for reopening the country and a clear, consistent message on vaccinations.  

If their lives are not going to be materially changed after the jab, why would the indifferent masses line up to be vaccinated?  

Given that the virus is close to eradicated everywhere in Australia except in hotel quarantine, it’s evident that most people no longer have any fear of the virus in the community.  

Therefore, the government must offer an incentive to the majority of Australians who say they’re in no rush to be vaccinated. 

According to Our World in Data, COVID-19 has a 99.3 per cent survival rate and is most dangerous to those who are infirm, obese or elderly.  

You’d think that would mean older Australians would be scrambling to receive the vaccine as soon as humanly possible.  

But, according to the latest Essential data released on April 26, polling illustrates that more than half of Australians aged over 50 are hesitant to get the AstraZeneca vaccine.  

The survey also disclosed that a mere 42 per cent of Australians want to get the vaccine straight away, while 16 per cent never want to get the vaccine and an additional 42 per cent are willing to get immunised but “wouldn’t do it as soon as possible”.  

Adolescents are the most reluctant to get the jab with 44 per cent of 18-to-34-year-olds wanting to wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine and a further 23 per cent saying they never want to get it. 

What better way to motivate people about getting vaccinated than to assure them that their freedom and rights will be restored and their country will return to normal.  

Closing our international borders indefinitely will probably be seen as a popular move by a sizeable section of the population but it’s destructive and unsustainable.  

As a nation we cannot continue to survive on the vast debt we’ve accrued.  

As soon as the at-risk population is vaccinated we must re-join the rest of the world by opening our borders, and the federal government must lay out a clear plan of when and how that will be done. 


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