Anti-vax sign in Mullumbimby.
Anti-vax sign in Mullumbimby.

Fast-tracking of COVID jab could hit brick wall in Mullum

The fast-tracking of a COVID-19 vaccine in Australia could hit a brick wall when it comes to Mullumbimby.

The biggest little town in Australia has some of the lowest figures when it comes to immunisation rates.

It could punch a giant hole as the Northern Rivers attempts to recover from the scourge of the coronavirus.

Already there a signs up in Mullumbimby opposing vaccination.

It should come as no surprise as previously this news website has reported some fairly grim statistics.

Just three years ago, immunisation rates for five year olds were as low as 52 per cent in

Mullumbimby.

More recently, and more broadly across the Byron Shire, the averages are still very low.

According to NSW Health, immunisation rates for children in Byron Shire in 2020 were 74.3 per cent for one year olds, 63.6 per cent for two year olds and 73.9 per cent for five year olds.

This compares with the state average of 94.5 per cent, 91.4 per cent and 94.2 per cent.

This week the government announced in was bringing forward the rollout of a coronavirus vaccine in Australia.

The first groups of people should be getting the jab in mid-to-late-February.

The first will be workers dealing with international arrivals and quarantine, frontline health workers, aged care and disability workers and those living in aged care or with a disability.

The aim is to vaccinate 80,000 people a week initially and by the end of March four million people should be inoculated

But the government is not making the vaccine mandatory and individuals can choose not to vaccinate.

While vaccination is not compulsory in Australia, the government has pulled other levers to put pressure on parents in particular.

For example, conscientious objectors can no longer enrol their children in child care if they are not fully vaccinated.

Potential low immunisation rates on the Northern Rivers for a COVID-19 vaccine could make our population more vulnerable.

So it will be interesting to see whether further levers need to be pulled to encourage more people to get the jab.