Australia risks never achieving herd immunity to Covid-19 unless it ramps up its strategy for engaging with vaccine-hesitant populations, a former health department chief and an epidemiologist have warned.

While health officials remain confident in the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine, they have told Guardian Australia they are concerned that recent reports about blood clotting will not curb vaccine hesitancy rates.

Health authorities on Monday acknowledged it is “likely” that blood clots developed by a 44-year-old Victorian man last week were linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Deputy chief health officer Michael Kidd noted that his “colleagues overseas appear to be seeing one to two cases” of recipients who develop the condition per one million recipients.

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