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Four in five New Zealanders plan to get vaccinated, but many people want more information about vaccine safety – Medical Xpress



New Zealanders’ intention to get a COVID-19 vaccine is at its highest since last year, at 81% of the adult population, according to our latest research.

Ministry of Health surveys, which have been tracking public acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines since last year, also confirm the potential uptake has increased to 80% in May, up from 77% in April and 69% in March this year.

Our , conducted between March and May, shows an increase by six percentage points among those who will “definitely” take the to protect themselves and their communities, to 67% in May compared to 61% in March.

The increase is visible across gender, age, education and ethnicity. Among Māori, we see a 10% increase among those “definitely” willing to be vaccinated, from 44% in March to 54% in May.

However, the number of people who say “definitely not” to vaccination remains relatively steady, dropping only slightly to 8% in May, from 9% in March.

The uptick in vaccination intentions is good news, but recent modeling suggests we will need to reach much higher vaccination rates to protect the population from the more transmissible Delta strain.

Of the survey respondents, fewer than a third (27%) have often or very often heard or read the government’s COVID-19 vaccination communication campaign on the radio, in newspapers or on social media in the last month. About four in ten people (43%) have often or very often heard about the campaign on television.

This lack of exposure is worrying. When we asked people who are hesitant or skeptical about vaccination what information they would need to change their mind, 30% said they’d want more information from the government. This is a substantial increase from 18% in March and suggests a low campaign reach.

The most frequently cited information request was for more vaccine safety data. This remained at 30% between March and May. In contrast, there was a sharp decline in the need to see other people take the vaccine first, from 21% in March to 8% in May.

Drop in COVID-19 safety behaviors

We also surveyed participants about the measures they take to protect themselves. The largest decline we observed was in mask wearing, from 64% in March who always, often or sometimes wore a mask in public to 50% in May.

More than three in four respondents continue to use the contact tracing app, down slightly from 78% in March to 76% in May, but encouraging others to use the app has declined from 73% to 66%.

The World Health Organization advises even fully vaccinated people should continue to follow COVID-19 safety behaviors, such as wearing masks in public places.

Misinformation continues to influence people’s decisions, but campaigns to correct it appear to have an impact.

Of the people who watched a misinformation correction video, featuring Auckland GP and advocate for Māori health Rawiri Jansen, 66% said they would definitely take the vaccine, compared to 62% who watched a misinformation video popular among vaccine skeptics on social media channels. The order of watching misinformation and correction does not seem to matter.

The effect of watching a misinformation correction video (just once) appears small, but it highlights the need for continued communication campaigns to address misinformation about the safety, efficacy and regulatory approval of COVID-19 vaccines.

Challenges for the vaccination program

In several countries, vaccination rates have stalled after an initial uptick.

In the UK, vaccination rates have reduced by 50% recently, primarily due to lack of enthusiasm among the young. In the US, vaccination rates fell just short of President Biden’s target of getting at least 70% of the adult population partly vaccinated before Independence Day on July 4.

Worryingly, the are uneven between US states, and nearly all Americans dying of COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

This has led President Biden to launch a “wartime effort” to vaccinate the country, including door-to-door outreach, vaccination clinics at workplaces, and urging employers to offer paid time off.

Some US states have offered scholarships, million-dollar lottery tickets, free beers and even shotguns as incentives to increase the vaccination rate.

New Zealand is likely to face similar hurdles. While it may be easier to motivate some hesitant people by improving vaccine access and providing services such as paid leave, it will be difficult to reach those with high distrust in government and health experts.

Communities that have been neglected in conversations about health policies may see the vaccination effort more as a benefit to the government rather than a concern for their own and their community’s well-being. Placing vaccination campaigns with trusted will help, as we have seen when more than a thousand Pacific people turned up to be vaccinated when the clinic was organized with help from their community and held at their church.

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Vaccination helps protect the unvaccinated from COVID-19

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Four in five New Zealanders plan to get vaccinated, but many people want more information about vaccine safety (2021, July 14)
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Peel Region reports its first confirmed case of monkeypox – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News



Peel Region has its first confirmed case of monkeypox.

According to Peel Public Health, the person infected is an adult male in his 30s who lives in Mississauga.

The heath unit said the risk to the public remains low.

Monkeypox, which comes from the same virus family as smallpox, spreads though close contact with an infected individual. Most transmission happens through close contact with the skin lesions of monkeypox, but the virus can also be spread by large droplets or by sharing contaminated items.

To reduce risk of infection, people are advised to be cautious when engaging in intimate activities with others. Vaccination is available for high-risk contacts of cases and for those deemed at high risk of exposure to monkeypox.

Symptoms can include fever, headache, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash/lesions, which could appear on the face or genitals and then spread to other areas.

Anyone who develops these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider and avoid close contact with others until they have improved and rash/lesions have healed.

While most people recover on their own without treatment, those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for monkeypox should self-monitor for symptoms, and contact PPH to see if they are eligible for vaccination.

The Mississauga case is at least the 34th confirmed case of the disease in Ontario, with dozens more under investigation.

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Monkeypox case count rises to more than 3400 globally, WHO says – The Globe and Mail



More than 3,400 confirmed monkeypox cases and one death were reported to the World Health Organization as of last Wednesday, with a majority of them from Europe, the agency said in an update on Monday.

WHO said that since June 17, 1,310 new cases were reported to the agency, with eight new countries reporting monkeypox cases.

Monkeypox is not yet a global health emergency, WHO ruled last week, although WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was deeply concerned about the outbreak.

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Sudbury news: Northern agencies highlight national HIV testing day | CTV News – CTV News Northern Ontario



Monday was national HIV testing day. Officials say this year’s theme surrounds how getting tested is an act of self-care.

From clinics to self-testing kits, groups in the north say there are many options to get tested and everyone should use whichever way works best for them.

Just more than a year ago, Reseau Access Network in Sudbury teamed with Ready to Know and Get a Kit, groups that provide HIV self-testing kits at a pickup location.

Officials said it has been a huge success.

“We get a consistent number throughout each month and I can’t really divulge those figures, unfortunately, but as part of the overall study I can tell you the pickup of self-tests is a fraction of the amount of tests being ordered,” said Angel Riess, of Reseau Access Network.

“There’s actually a lot of tests being shipped to homes directly but I can confirm that they have been active and there’s a significant number of people who have chosen to engage in both programs.”

Elsewhere, the Aids Committee of North Bay and Area held a point-of-care testing clinic to mark the day.

“It’s an opportunity for us to remind everyone that getting tested is essential. If you don’t know you have HIV, you can’t take the steps to try to mitigate the possibility of spread,” said executive director Stacey Mayhall.

In addition to stopping the spread, knowing whether you are positive sooner rather than later can allow for a better quality of life.

“HIV is not a death sentence that it used to be,” said Riess.

“There have been advances in testing and medication and people can live long, healthy lives living with HIV.”

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