Australians could be offered ‘freedom incentives’ to convince them to get the Covid vaccine, after evidence giving away free cash wouldn’t convince Aussies to roll up their sleeves.
The federal government has been looking at a range of options to launch the second and third phases of its reopening plan, which aims to vaccinate between 70 and 80 per cent of the population.
Easing restrictions for fully vaccinated people was floated as a potential idea ahead of cash incentives, which research commissioned by the government found was ‘unlikely to drive up vaccine uptake’.
Instead, officials will prioritise non-cash incentives, such as handing out bonus frequent flyer points and partnering with businesses to give discounts to convince people to book in at one of the nation’s many vaccine clinics.
As it stands, only 17 per cent of people over the age of 16 has had both jabs.
In Australia, only 17 per cent of people over the age of 16 have had both jabs. Pictured: A woman in Sydney on Monday
Scott Morrison (pictured) said ‘the time will come’ when people who have not been vaccinated should not be allowed into some public places
Similar tactics have been successful in places such as France, where Emmanuel Macron threatened to restrict access to public places for non-vaccinated people.
To convince the unwilling to take part and get vaccinated, which has been touted as our key out of lockdown, the Australian advisors suggested similar ‘freedom incentives’ for the double-jabbed, including access to music festivals and large sporting events.
‘”Returning to normal” and the ability to travel are strong motivators for many,’ the report said, according to The Australian.
‘Providing vaccinated people with personal freedoms, and restricting the freedoms of those who aren’t, is likely to drive vaccine uptake.
‘Examples could include attending large public events (sporting events and music festivals) and expanded travel options.’
The report explained that financial incentives to get the vaccine would set an ‘expensive precedent’, and would likely have little effect unless offering around $4,800 per person.
But Labor leader Anthony Albanese disagrees, and is set to announce his own $6billion vaccination plane which would see all Australians get $300 for being jabbed by the start of December.
Australia recorded 220 new Covid cases on Monday, including 207 in Sydney and 13 in Queensland where there is a lockdown in place across the southeast until Sunday.
The Australian government will try and use non-cash incentives to convince people to get vaccinated – with the double-jabbed able to attend festivals and large sporting events (pictured, cafes in Melbourne after a recent lockdown)
Greater Sydney is in week six of lockdown, with eight government areas in tighter lockdowns. Pictured: People drinking at a Melbourne bar, which unvaccinated people could be prevented from doing
Greater Sydney is in week six of lockdown, with eight local government areas including Parramatta, Blacktown, Campbelltown and Fairfield under tighter restrictions to contain a disproportionate number of cases in those areas.
On Monday, Mr Morrison said exemptions from health restrictions would likely be provided for fully-vaccinated residents during phase two of the four-phase reopening plan.
In audio obtained by Daily Mail Australia last week, the Prime Minister hinted at bringing in restrictions for Australians who refuse to get the vaccine – keeping them out of venues such as pubs and restaurants during a conference call with constituents from the Sutherland Shire on Thursday.
He was speaking with voters from the Cook electorate in Sydney’s south when ‘Steve’ from Cronulla suggested support should be given to businesses such as cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs by allowing them to open to fully-vaccinated patrons only.
Police talk to a woman who is not wearing a mask in central Brisbane on Monday (pictured) with the city back in lockdown after 13 new cases were found
Mr Morrison agreed and said the proposal would likely be considered once a higher percentage of the population had the vaccine.
‘If you’re vaccinated, you’re less of a public health risk than you are to someone who’s unvaccinated,’ he said.
‘I think the time will come when exactly what you’re suggesting should be able to be achieved.
Mr Morrison reminded everyone that Sydneysiders aren’t the only ones impacted by an outbreak of the Indian Delta variant of Covid, with Singapore also in lockdown until September.
He added Australia had avoided the loss of ‘30,000 lives and more’, based on looking at the fatality rates throughout Europe, UK and the US.
‘As bad as this lockdown is, and it’s bad, this is not just happening in Australia, it’s happening all around the world,’ he said.
A huge number of anti-vaxxers joined Sydney’s 3,000-strong anti-lockdown protest on July 24 (pictured) – with fears a stubborn few may always refuse the jab
New South Wales recorded another 207 cases of Covid-19 on Monday as Sydney continues to grapple with an outbreak of the highly-contagious Delta variant
‘If we’d experienced and not been able to suppress the virus as we have been, we shut the borders and made sure we kept the virus out, there would be 30,000 more Australians dead today because of Covid.
‘Australians have done an amazing job to ensure that hasn’t happened and that’s everyone who’s achieved that together by doing the right thing.
The job for the federal government now is to get everyone vaccinated with Pfizer or AstraZeneca so Australia’s borders can finally be reopened.
‘About 75 per cent of the population doesn’t have an objection to getting vaccinated,’ Mr Morrison said, referring to government polling.
‘There are some hardcore against any sort of vaccination and there are others we have encourage to do this for themselves, their families, our community and the country.
‘We’ve just got to keep providing those opportunities for people to go and get it.
‘They’re both great vaccines, Please take the opportunity to get them.’
Earlier in the conference call, Mr Morrison urged aged care workers to get vaccinated and said the country’s state and territory leaders and chief health officers do work together, despite their public spats with one another.
He also provided advice after hearing first hand from families of small business operators affected by the lockdown and the difficulties experienced in getting government support.
Daily vaccinations in Australia reached more than 200,000 doses for the first time this week, while almost 11.8 million jabs have been administered since the rollout began in February.
What are the four phases of opening up?
On July 9, Mr Morrison announced a four stage plan to get Australia back to normal, with each step to be triggered when the vaccination rate hits a certain percentage.
The vaccination percentages required are being calculated by modelling experts at The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and will be released at the end of July.
1. Vaccinate, prepare and pilot (from July 14)
Arrival caps cut in half to 3,035 a week; lockdowns and state border closures as a last resort; trials of seven-day home quarantine for vaccinated arrivals; medicare vaccination certificates available on apps like apple wallet
2. Post vaccination phase (when an as-yet unannounced percentage of Aussies are jabbed, expected early next year)
No lockdowns or state borders except for ‘extreme circumstances’; caps for unvaccinated arrivals doubled to 6,070; home quarantine for vaccinated arrivals; capped entry for students and economic visa holders
3. Consolidation phase (date not announced)
Lifting all restrictions for outbound travel for vaccinated travellers; no caps for vaccinated arrivals; vaccinated people exempted from domestic restrictions; increased caps for students and visa holders; more travel bubbles being set up with countries such as Singapore; booster shots rolled out
4. Final phase (date not announced)
Uncapped arrivals for vaccinated people without any quarantine and uncapped arrivals for unvaccinated people with testing before departure and on arrival