Vaccine hesitancy: How experiences at home and overseas can help Australian clinicians have conversations with patients about getting vaccinated

by | Coronavirus - COVID-19, Coronavirus - Prevention, What We're Talking About

The majority of the Australian population is now vaccinated. If your patients are still weighing up the risks versus benefits of having the vaccine here is a summary based on Australian data and international experiences.


If patients are under 50, it is hard to estimate the risk of a clotting syndrome accurately because the numbers are so low, but it is around 3 per 100,000 first doses.

If patients are over 60, the risk is lower from 1.4 to 1.9 cases of clotting per 100,000 first doses of AstraZeneca.  The chances of dying of the clotting syndrome in Australia are less than one in a million.

Myocarditis and pericarditis

The risks are around 1:50,000 and mostly in young men and mostly mild.

The risks of COVID-19 if you’re unvaccinated

There is a one in 12 chance of being hospitalised; one in 50 chance of being admitted to ICU; one in 100 chance of dying; and one in three chance of long COVID.


All three vaccines available in Australia now are highly effective – Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer particularly at preventing hospitalisation, ICU admissions and death. 

Vaccines wane over time, which is why we all need to have a third shot.

In Australia, we are already witnessing firsthand the benefits of being vaccinated. In New South Wales for instance, the number of daily positive COVID-19 cases have fallen dramatically as the vaccination rate reached 80%+. 

People will still get infected, but the risk of severe disease is greatly reduced.

Talking with patients about the COVID-19 vaccines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published a useful guide An Introduction to Motivational Interviewing for Healthcare Professionals that may assist you talking to patients about the COVID-19 vaccines.