A new survey has shown that some Tasmanians are apprehensive about availing themselves of a prospective COVID-19 vaccine, but health practitioners remain confident that such a vaccine will be safe once approved.
The University of Tasmania's Institute for Social Change is overseeing the Tasmania Project, a research program on the impacts associated with the coronavirus.
More than 1300 Tasmanians responded to the project's latest survey, which addressed border restrictions.
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While 76 per cent of respondents said they would be vaccinated if a vaccine became available, 18 per cent said they didn't know whether they would be or not.
Launceston GP Jerome Muir-Wilson said he could understand why some people were hesitant about getting vaccinated against COVID-19, due to there not being enough information to "make an informed decision about [the] safety and effectiveness of [the] vaccine".
"This is because the vaccine trials are still in the early stages and [there is] not enough outcome information to share as yet," he said.
"There are high standards of vaccine safety and reporting in Australia.
"I'm confident when approved and available in Australia the vaccine will be safe and I will personally have one."
Dr Muir-Wilson said a vaccine loomed as "the safest way" of returning to a "pre-COVID way of life".
"The only other less palatable option, looking at history, is for the population to be exposed and develop some level of natural immunity," he said. "The natural approach would likely lead to lots of deaths and disability for years to come."
Health Minister Sarah Courtney said she believed Tasmanians would do the right thing when a vaccine finally becomes available.
"I think Tasmanians have clearly indicated through their action this year that they're very supportive of making sure that they do the right thing with regards to COVID," she said.
"I have confidence that Tasmanians, with our high take-up of other vaccines, would make sure that they take all steps to keep their communities safe."
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said last month that he was increasingly hopeful that vaccines could be available to Australians in the first half of 2021 with some potentially even being available as early as the first quarter of the year.
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