Lisa Wilkinson and fellow Channel Ten stars have slammed the federal government’s new advert encouraging Australians to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
The commercial, which launched on Sunday, features a young woman hooked up to a ventilator in hospital struggling to breath.
But The Project hosts said they don’t understand the purpose of the distressing scare campaign because the woman in the ad is under 40 and would not be eligible to receive the vaccine – the only sure way of avoiding serious illness from the virus.
The graphic commercial was released in Sydney as New South Wales recorded 77 new locally-acquired cases of Covid including one death, bringing the total number of infections since Sydney’s outbreak began last month to 556.
The advert is aimed at showing Australians that not only the elderly can suffer with Covid, with a teenager among those currently in Sydney’s ICUs, as well as someone in theirs 20s and another in their 30s.
Lisa Wilkinson (pictured) accused the NSW government of giving off ‘confusing’ messages
But the hosts took issue with the age of the victim in the advert, saying young people can’t yet get jabbed with Pfizer, the recommended vaccine for under 60s.
‘The ad is acting like it’s on the population, like it’s our fault that the vaccination rates are so low but actually it’s a supply problem,’ comedian Nazeem Hussain said.
‘The government needs to take responsibility. We should make an ad for the government to go and get some more friggin’ vaccines.’
Scott Morrison has already claimed Sydney’s lockdown is ‘absolutely not’ down to vaccine delays, and that officials had always planned for Australia to still be in the ‘suppression’ phase by July 2021.
Host Lisa Wilkinson said there is a very confusing jump in messaging from the government’s previous Covid ads.
‘We’ve gone from the Dr Nick Coatsworth ad where he is not wearing a face mask, he doesn’t do any QR code check-in, he doesn’t hand sanatise before he walks into that cafe, to this scare campaign,’ she said.
‘I would have thought there should have been something in between the two.’
Fellow panelist Jan Fran said she has no idea what the government is trying to convey.
The Project hosts (pictured) said they don’t understand the purpose of the distressing scare campaign because the woman in the ad is under 40 and would not be eligible to receive the vaccine
In the ad (pictured), a young woman with Covid-19 can be seen clawing at her ventilator because she can’t breath
‘The person in that ad looks under 40. So what they are saying is you are a young person and you could have some severe consequences from getting Covid, but you are not eligible for any of the vaccines,’ the comedian said.
‘So it’s like what do you want me to do?’
Gladys Berejiklian has pointed at the low vaccination rates as a reason why Sydney is in lockdown.
‘NSW – in fact, no state or nation or any country on the planet – can live with the Delta variant when our vaccination rates are so low,’ she said.
‘So please, do not think that the NSW Government thinks we can live with this when our rate of vaccination is only at 9 per cent.
‘Because if we chose to live with this while the rates of vaccinations are at 9 per cent, we will see thousands and thousands of hospitalisations and death.’
The 30-second ad shows a very sick young woman laying in a hospital bed, wheezing heavily and clawing at a ventilator fastened under her nose because she can’t breath properly.
A message then pops up that says: ‘Covid-19 can affect anyone. Stay-at-home, get tested and booked in for a vaccination.’
Chief medical officer Paul Kelly described it as ‘graphic’ and said it would contain three important messages: ‘Stay-at-home, get tested and booked in for a vaccination.’
He said the ad is meant to be ‘quite graphic’ to scare people into following government directives to stay home until the outbreak is contained.
Due to the federal government’s bungled vaccine rollout, there is now a major shortage of supply with only those over 40 able to get vaccinated, along with frontline workers and those living in their households.
The government had pinned their hopes on the AstraZeneca jab for the bulk of its vaccine campaign but after being linked with extremely rare blood clots it is now only available to those over 60.
Pictured: A frontline healthcare worker receives the Pfizer Vaccine at the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Adelaide, Monday, February 22, 2021
Despite the ATAG’s recommendation, the Morrison government backflipped on the medical body’s decision.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said from the end of June, the Commonwealth would provide GPs indemnity cover so they could administer AstraZeneca to all adults, regardless of age.
People aged under 50 can use Medicare for a vaccine consultation with a doctor, bringing them in line with older Australians.
However, the abrupt announcement had left Australians confused and desperately waiting until an extra 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine are set to arrive in the final quarter of 2021.
On the same day as the ventilator ad, the government has also unveiled another commercial aimed at boosting vaccination rates.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese said the campaign is so cheesy it will be hard for satirists to poke fun at it
The nationwide ‘arm yourself’ ad features a a range of people of different ages lifting their sleeves to reveal band aids to show they’ve had the jab.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said the campaign is so cheesy it will be hard for satirists to poke fun at it.
‘It will be very difficult for Shaun Micallef to send this ad up,’ he told the ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday.
‘What we need is taking the expertise Australia has always done so well. We were the best in the world in the campaign against AIDS, we’ve done drink-driving very well, but after 18 months if this is the best they can do, they need to go back to the drawing board.
‘This is a government that has spent [a lot of money] advertising itself, telling Australians how good it is. Maybe they should translate some of that advertising into this.’
Pictured: A still from a nationwide ad campaign encouraging Australians to get vaccinated
The nationwide campaign has been slammed by opposition leader Anthony Albanese
Siimon Reynolds, the man behind the 1980s ‘Grim Reaper’ AIDS campaign, has also criticised the federal government’s advertising calling it ‘super weak’.
‘You can’t simply just have someone’s arm with a band aid as a way of changing millions of people’s points of view,’ he told ABC news.
‘The first ad, ‘arm yourself against the vaccine’ is super weak and it says nothing more than get the vaccine.
‘If they’ve spent $21 million saying what we have been told for weeks and weeks then that is just a colossal waste of money and a terrible missed opportunity.’
But the advertising guru says the ventilator TV commercial is much more promising.
‘It shows that Covid can really be painful which a lot of Australians don’t really believe and it shows that young people can get it, not just older people,’ he said.
‘It is 10 times better than the first ad.’
Siimon Reynolds (pictured with TV host Kathryn Eisman in 2017) created the famous 1987 advert warning Australians about the grave dangers of HIV and AIDS
Mr Reynolds also warned that wheeling out celebrities and pop stars to encourage the public to get the jab is not going to work as it may have done in other countries.
‘People have been trying to sell everything from watches to cars that way for 100 years, surely when we have a life-threatening disease we can do better,’ he said.
‘It just reminds people that this isn’t such a big deal because here’s a pop singer cracking a joke about Covid and it’s the exact opposite of what should be done.’
He said that if he was tasked with leading the vaccine campaign he would look at celebrities who have actually battled Covid and speak first hand about its devastating effects.
‘What about celebrities like the US pop star Pink. She got Covid so badly that she rewrote her will, so that her two children could be looked after, after she died,’ Mr Reynolds said.
‘She was that certain she was going to die.
‘Now, get a celebrity like that to talk about the pain she was in and the angst she felt and the fear, that’s what is going to wake people up.’