Vaccine incentives like cash lottos and discount vouchers are “potentially on the table” to get Australians to line up for the COVID-19 vaccine, Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly has said.
Countries such as the US have been offering such bonuses to bring more people in to get the jab.
“At the moment we know there is some hesitancy, particularly in the 50-69 year old age group,” Professor Kelly said in a press conference today.
“So there is something we need to consider there. And, you know, we can certainly look at that. But I think the main incentive is the one I have mentioned many times, about protecting your own health, not sitting there, waiting for an outbreak, because once an outbreak is here, if it comes, it will be very difficult for us to rollout masses and masses of vaccines quickly.”
Vaccine passports have been floated as an incentive by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, permitting fully-vaccinated Australians to travel freely even during a lockdown.
Professor Kelly said he thought the proposal – which has been slammed by the Queensland and NSW premiers – would be discussed at National Cabinet.
He said Australia’s success in containing COVID-19 so far had resulted in the threat posed by the disease – and the corresponding benefits of the vaccine – seeming distant.
“I think we really do need to look for incentives, as many incentives as we can for people to become vaccinated,” he said.
Mr Morrison has previously said the government’s research indicated that about two-thirds of Australians were eager to get the vaccine, with about a third remaining hesitant, in line with other OECD countries.