Experts Warn Ahead of Festive Season: Australians Growing Complacent About COVID Measures

In a striking statistic, COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in Australia in 2022, with 9,859 deaths

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, a concerning trend of complacency among Australians regarding vaccinations and safety measures has emerged, a recent study commissioned by Pfizer Australia reveals.

Conducted from November 27 to 30, the survey polled 1,000 Australians aged 18 and over during the nation’s eighth virus wave, uncovering a relaxed attitude towards the ongoing health crisis.

The study’s findings are alarming:

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  1. 33% of Australians no longer consider COVID-19 measures, such as mask-wearing, hand sanitisation, and social distancing, crucial for protection against the virus.
  2. 34% of respondents expressed indifference towards staying up-to-date with vaccinations,
  3. Nearly two-thirds (64%) believe that new COVID-19 variants won’t significantly impact them in the coming year.

Interestingly, the survey showed that older Australians are less likely to disregard COVID-safe measures (26%) or vaccinations (21%).

In response to these findings, infectious diseases paediatrician and University of Sydney professor Robert Booy emphasised the importance of not letting our guard down.

“As much as we would all like to forget about COVID-19, COVID-19 is not done with us,”

he stated.

Professor Booy highlighted the ongoing evolution of the disease and its significant impact, particularly on those at higher risk of severe illness.

Despite COVID-19 becoming a part of our ‘new normal’, Professor Booy insists on the continued necessity of protective habits and measures for the safety of the community.

Federal data indicates a downward trend in COVID hospitalisations, with the rolling seven-day average dropping from 229 on November 12 to 118 on December 4. However, intensive care cases still average above 50. While vaccination rates peaked at 14,795 on November 21, the highest since June 28, there has been a decline in recent weeks, dipping below 10,000.

Professor Booy pointed out that while most healthy Australians are shielded against severe COVID, millions of vulnerable individuals have not received an updated vaccination in the last six months.

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With the holiday season approaching and people gathering in large numbers, he warns, “COVID loves a crowd,” and advises taking sensible precautions during Christmas celebrations.

In a striking statistic, COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in Australia in 2022, with 9,859 deaths, marking the first change to the top five causes of death since 2006. According to provisional data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 3,282 doctor-certified COVID-19 deaths between January and August, a 58% decrease from the same period last year.

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