An ad to encourage coronavirus vaccination in Australia sparked a backlash, with many criticizing its graphic representation of a young woman suffering from Covid.
The government announcement shows the woman in a hospital bed gasping for air, desperate and crying, while on a respirator.
The scene takes place in a dark, gray hospital room. In the background you hear the “beep” of cardiac monitoring. The woman is alone.
Capture of the controversial video of an official Australian campaign on covid vaccines. Photo: Twitter
The video ends with a message in white letters on black text. “Covid-19 can affect anyone. Stay at home. Test. Reserve your vaccine.”
But critics say the ad targets youth unfairly, considering that those under 40 years of age will only be able to access vaccines at the end of the year.
In addition, the Health Council recommends that young people wait for the pfizer doses instead of AstraZeneca’s, which are already available. Australia is short of supplies from Pfizer.
Currently, the announcement only shown in Sydney, which is suffering from a Delta variant outbreak and is in its third week of lockdown.
Authorities reported 112 new cases on Monday, bringing the total to more than 700 cases since the strain first appeared in mid-June, setting off all alarms.
Ad launch is part of a broader vaccination campaign Arm Yourself‘(Armate) which was launched on Sunday, in an English pun that invites you to put your arm (arm, in English)
“It is completely offensive to post an ad like this when Australians in this age group are still waiting their shots, “tweeted announcer Hugh Riminton.
“Why are we targeting the young? Shouldn’t we be targeting the increasing rate of vaccinations in those 55 and older?” said another Twitter user.
Others, including healthcare professionals, asked to retire the video, qualifying it as “insensitive”.
Empty collectives in Sydney due to confinement due to a new outbreak of the Delta strain. Photo: Reuters
But the government has defended the ad.
Australia’s health director Paul Kelly said it was “meant to be graphic” to “get the message home” about the need to stay home, get tested and book vaccinations.
“We are only doing this because of the situation in Sydney,” he justified.
On Sunday, authorities in Australia’s largest city registered the first death from the outbreak and the first Covid death of the entire year.
The Sidney wave has drawn widespread criticism of the federal government’s launch of vaccination. It started in February, but was slowed down by Pfizer’s lack of vaccine supply, public complacency, and mixed public health messages about the risks of AstraZeneca.
Just over 10% of the population has been fully vaccinated.
Since the end of June, Australia, with some 25 million inhabitants, praised for its response to the pandemic, has faced an outbreak of cases, especially of the highly contagious Delta variant.
Many attribute it to failures in the systems of quarantine for travelers that come from abroad.
Source: BBC News