Lieutenant General John Frewen's interview on Sunrise on 28 March 2022
Read the transcript of Lieutenant General John Frewen's interview with David Koch and Monique Wright on Sunrise on 28 March 2022.
Now the Federal Government, they launched a multimillion dollar advertising campaign, encouraging more people to get a COVID-19 booster shot.
VOICEOVER: After the last two years, we could all do with a bit of a boost. And a COVID 19 booster, it boosts more than just your immunity.
It's a boost to my bottom line.
A boost to my confidence.
Boost my fitness.
A boost to our social life.
A boost to my happiness.
[End of excerpt]
It comes amid concerns our booster rollout is falling behind, especially as we head into winter. Joining us now is the man in charge of the rollout, Lieutenant General John Frewen. Welcome to you. Thanks so much for your time.
So around a third of eligible Aussies still haven't had their booster doses yet. So we've gone from a supply issue to a demand issue. Why is that?
Yeah, look, last week we ticked over 95 per cent of the nation have had their first two doses, which is a remarkable achievement internationally, and Australians are to be really commended for that uptake. About 67 per cent have had the third dose, and there's a whole range of reasons why I think people are, you know, not sort of coming forward as quickly as they did for the first two doses. Some people have had COVID, some people are just sort of a bit over the whole COVID thing. But what we know from the medical advice is that the booster will reduce the severity of COVID if you get it and it will help avoid the effects of long COVID. So it is really important to do. You can get COVID multiple times as well. It's never been easier to get the vaccines now. You can walk in around the country just about everywhere now and get a dose really quickly. So the ad hopes to just sort of freshen up the message and just remind people that this is really important, both for their own health, but for the freedoms and the economic underpinnings that we're starting to enjoy again now.
John, a nephew of mine, late twenties, went on a bucks weekend to the Gold Coast, 20 mates, all got COVID. He was saying: it is stunning, the difference in the symptoms between his mates that weren't boosted and those who were. And this is the bullet-proof age group that is saying: oh no, I’ve been double vaccinated, don't need a booster, I’m young and healthy.
Yeah, no, look, I've got teenage kids as well. And their friendship groups have had exactly that same experience, that those who had the booster were very pleased that they've had the booster because it was far less of an effect. And really, this- the slower uptake is in those under-40 sort of cohorts. The more senior folks - very high take up rates, fantastic. You know, we've- in aged care facilities for example, we've got 93 per cent of people have had their booster, their third booster already. So it really is the younger cohorts that we want to encourage to come forward. And there is a really good effect. And if they talk to people who've had that experience, I think they'll- they should see the good reason to have it.
Yep. Well, the other group, of course, are those school age kids, and they're all due for their second [inaudible]. So, you know, just a big reminder there to- you know, for them to get on board.
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. No, I think- look, the kids take up- globally, we're in a really good place with more than 50 per cent of the kids have had their first dose. But we would like more parents to bring their kids forwards. We're also seeing that some parents are still not quite sure about the safety of the vaccines for their kids. But the medical advice is the vaccines are safe. It's important for the kids to get it. So we'd also really encourage parents who haven't bought their kids forward so far to please also do that.
Yeah. Good point.
Yeah. Well, John, I'm taking five kids this afternoon to have their second doses, so wish me luck. Thank you so much. All the best.