Govt launches $13m booster ad campaign and vaccinate blitz during school holidays

Media buyer Universal McCann signed a $12.3 million deal this month to secure television, radio, print, digital and outdoor commercials for the campaign, which is being produced by ad agency BMF as part of a 1.1- Million dollar deals being developed.

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The advert, which will be aired on free-to-air TV as early as next week, aims to convince Australians of the importance of a third vaccination to reduce the chance of serious illness from COVID-19.

“It’s a new, more engaging campaign, with real people reflecting on their experiences,” said a senior government source with knowledge of the process.

BMF is the same agency that created the federal government‘s First Things First campaign, launched in September to encourage Australians to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and its earlier Arm Yourself campaign, which many was criticized.

Health Secretary Greg Hunt announced plans for a booster campaign in December, but only one animated video has been released so far – partly because the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization has since made several changes to eligibility.

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Vaccines expert Professor Julie Leask, from the Sydney Institute for Infectious Diseases at the University of Sydney, said the rapidly changing nature of the pandemic made it difficult to plan and execute a media campaign.

“We are in a very dynamic risk environment where the epidemiological context is constantly changing. The recommendations change and they are very fluid,” said Professor Leask.

“Once you’ve committed to your campaign, you get it approved on a cost basis and there may be a new recommendation out there… People are more likely to respond to a clear, consistent message.”

dr Price said many people may not realize they could receive a dose of vaccine – including a booster – once their isolation period is over and your symptoms have stopped, while others felt that natural immunity was lost after contracting COVID-19 despite a lack of clear evidence.

The RACGP is also asking the federal government to fund after-hours vaccination clinics for general practitioners.

Mr Hunt has said he wants at least 76 per cent of eligible children to be vaccinated after a recent survey found a quarter of parents are reluctant or not planning to vaccinate their children.

Labor health spokesman Mark Butler said the Morrison Government’s ad campaign was “too little, too late [as] COVID-19 cases are rising across the country.”

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