VaxFACTS videos answer your COVID-19 questions
Clear, concise, accessible and easy-to-understand public health messaging is critical in the ongoing battle against vaccine hesitancy and the spread of misinformation in the pandemic.
That’s why the University of Melbourne has launched its own website, VaxFACTS (vaxfacts.org.au), featuring a series of simple videos aimed at the public to answer common questions and bust widely-shared myths about COVID-19 vaccines.
World leader in vaccine uptake research, University of Melbourne Associate Professor Margie Danchin, a consultant paediatrician at the Royal Children’s Hospital and a Clinician Scientist at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, hosts the short videos, unpacking key issues around COVID-19.
“Vaccination is one of the most important tools we have to start to move towards a more normal way of life. And providing clear and transparent information about the risks and benefits of vaccination to people is crucial building confidence and encouraging uptake,” Associate Professor Danchin said.
“Our research this year has found that people are seeking their COVID-19 vaccine information from trusted medical professionals, scientists and researchers – the VaxFacts videos are an evidence-based approach to public health messaging that will hopefully achieve cut-through to those who are still on the fence about receiving the vaccine.
“We know that people have lots of questions about COVID-19 vaccines and the best way to build trust is to answer them through clear communication and community engagement.
“Almost 40 per cent of eligible Australians over 16 are already fully vaccinated and it’s wonderful to see more and more people rolling up their sleeves to be vaccinated every day - COVID-19 vaccines will protect most people from getting incredibly sick, going to hospital and dying. It is the best way to protect ourselves, our families and communities from COVID-19.”
University of Melbourne Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Jim McCluskey said while the pandemic is an unprecedented test for this generation, the value and reliance of research expertise and reach is crucial. For instance, scientists from the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity – a joint venture between the University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital – were the first outside China to grow and share a version of the Wuhan isolate SARS-CoV-2 virus from a Victorian patient sample.
The Institute has also led a national consortium, modelling scenarios of pandemic outcome to assist policy makers in guiding Australia’s way out of lockdowns.
“We have always used science and data, backed by rigorous standards and practices, to solve complex challenges,” Professor McCluskey said.
“Our researchers have had a major influence on government policy and public responses to the pandemic. Together, we have played an important role in informing the public with trustworthy expertise and knowledge across many and varied subjects.
“Using this knowledge and expertise for the public good is our responsibility, which is why we have produced this series.”
The series of short, easy-to-understand Q&A videos tackle a number of topics including vaccine safety, side effects, COVID-19 immunity and risks and importantly, how to encourage friends and family to get vaccinated.
The intention is for individuals, business leaders and the University of Melbourne community to engage with and share the videos with their networks to help educate, inform and influence people to get vaccinated.
“Vaccination is key to getting out of the pandemic. We are fortunate to have powerful vaccines, developed in record time to help us overcome this virus. The cost of refusing the gift of vaccines is enormous. Your decision – and those of your friends, family and colleagues – to get vaccinated will determine our future as a resilient community and strong nation,” Professor McCluskey said.