New federal government ads urging Australians to have up-to-date vaccinations amid a ‘harsh winter’

The federal government will run new adverts urging “Australians to keep up to date on vaccinations” as the health secretary says “it is clear we have a tough winter ahead of us”.

Health Secretary Mark Butler has warned the nation faces “very real challenges” this winter as he urged Australians to stay up to date with their vaccinations.

In an opinion piece titled “No time for complacency in the fight against COVID” published on Wednesday, Mr Butler said while “life is pretty much back to normal”, COVID-19 and influenza still pose a significant threat to people the health of Australians.

The latest COVID-19 data from Australia’s Department of Health showed 31,766 infections were reported with an estimated 231,455 active cases over the most recent 24-hour reporting period.

“Currently, tens of thousands of new COVID-19 cases are being reported every day and thousands of Australians are hospitalized with the disease. Hundreds of Australians die every week,” Mr Butler said.

“We also have a significant risk of flu for the first time in years. To get through the winter, we need to increase the third and fourth doses of COVID-19 vaccination.

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“The health advice is clear: you are not fully protected against the Omicron variant unless you have received at least a third dose of the vaccine.

“New research from the National Center for Immunization Research and Surveillance found that one (third) booster dose provides 65 percent greater protection against hospitalization or death from the Omicron variant compared to just two doses.”

Mr Butler said the federal government would launch new adverts in the coming weeks urging Australians to ensure they are up to date on their vaccinations, including booster shots.

The health secretary added that while Australia was still facing a “tough winter” and the health system was under pressure, “we have the means to get through the winter safely”.

“With COVID-19 and influenza posing a significant health threat to the Australian population this winter, the message is clear: get vaccinated,” he said.

“For parents of young children who have not yet been vaccinated against the flu, make an appointment today. If you or a loved one did not get the flu shot this year, make an appointment today.

“And if you’re eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination and haven’t received one yet, book today. It is safe to have both at the same time.”

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