Nearly 8 out of 10 Australians believe vaccines prevent infectious diseases and will access a new COVID-19 vaccine if it is available and properly tested, a ChildFund Australia survey shows.
The Essential Report polling for ChildFund Australia finds:
- 79 per cent of Australians believe vaccines are effective in preventing infectious diseases.
- 78 per cent of Australians polled said they would take a COVID-19 vaccine if it was properly tested and released.
There is also strong support for Australia’s role in ensuring neighbouring countries have access to a COVID-19 vaccine:
- 76% of people believe Australia should help neighbouring countries rollout COVID-19 immunisation programs if a safe and tested vaccine is released.
- 79% believe there should be a fair global allocation system for the COVID-19 vaccine so poorer countries are not left behind.
ChildFund Australia CEO Margaret Sheehan said the results show the majority of Australians believe in the efficacy of vaccines and think Australia has a responsibility to help prevent the spread of infectious disease in our region.
She said: “In Australia, we have entirely eradicated infectious diseases such as polio, and many children have been vaccinated against other life-threatening illnesses such as measles. This is a testament to the effectiveness of large-scale vaccination programs implemented over many years.
”Unfortunately, in countries like Papua New Guinea, low rates of vaccination due to overstretched and under-resourced health systems means the lives of children are still at risk to preventable disease.
“Ongoing financial and on-the-ground support is needed to ensure children can access immunisation programs that save lives.”
The current global pandemic has shown how quickly infectious disease can spread across national borders and within countries. Ms Sheehan says the Australian Government has a critical role to play in stopping the spread of disease across our region.
“This is particularly critical in tackling COVID-19. No country should be left behind in the rollout of a vaccine once it has been thoroughly tested and released.”
ChildFund Australia works in developing countries to create community and systems change which enables vulnerable children and young people, in all their diversity, to assert and realise their rights.
While we do not deliver programs in Australia at this stage, as a child-focused development organisation we are committed to ending violence against children globally in all its forms. The ChildFund Alliance actively contributed to the positioning of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 16.2 as a core element within the 2030 agenda.
Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders community leaders have said that the Black Lives Matter protests across the United States reflect a similar history and story of persistent injustice. We hope that the recent protests occurring across Australia are the beginning of a renewed public conversation.
ChildFund has decades of experience working with children and young people in disadvantaged communities and has gained valuable insights.
We understand the fundamental importance of children feeling connected to their communities and living in an environment which is free from harm, including institutionalised violence.
In Australia, the extent to which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people experience police violence, and the rate at which they are being incarcerated, has reached a crisis point. This has been verified by multiple public commissions and inquiries.
We know that feeling safe is critical to a child’s healthy physical and emotional development. A child growing up in an environment where they feel protected is more likely to do well at school, have healthy social relationships with friends and family, and achieve economic independence as adults.
In our work globally, ChildFund’s programs address the root causes of inequality. We know that history matters.
Australia’s past includes a series of failed policies that have caused intergenerational stress for thousands of Aboriginal mothers, fathers, children and their elders.
Today, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people continue to experience stark disadvantage in comparison to their non-Indigenous peers. This includes higher rates of poverty and infant mortality, poorer health, shorter life expectancy, and lower levels of education and employment.
As of February 2020, Australia is only on track for two out of its seven Close the Gap targets.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children belong to living cultures that have been maintained for over 60,000 years. There is deep knowledge about ways forward – we in Australia must be committed to careful listening.
ChildFund unequivocally supports the Uluru Statement and the Redfern Statement. We view the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people as profoundly important in designing Australia’s future.
In addition to current efforts, we call on the Australian Government to make the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children an urgent, national priority through concrete commitments to comprehensive child protection and youth justice reform.
We also call on all Australians to continue these conversations in your homes and to engage in the emerging public discourse, led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community leaders, elders, and young people.
More importantly, we encourage you to deeply listen to the stories and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders community leaders and young people.