Australia Australia / New Zealand Mental Health

Our Island Home is Closed

Australia may be one of the safest countries in the world right now, but it certainly doesn’t feel ‘free’

It took me a while to watch Australia’s new Qantas advert, because I knew it’d pull at the heartstrings (I definitely shed a tear!)

Clever marketing combined with a clever soundtrack to encourage the general population’s uptake of the vaccine, from our national airline, has probably been the most effective public appeal I’ve seen thus far.

As a nation, Australia is currently lagging well behind the rest of the world in vaccination rates. Which for a developed country not sharing a border with any other countries, seems ridiculous. By November-December, we hope to have 80% of the population (over 16) vaccinated with double doses, and it feels like it’s taking a lifetime to get there.

Largely this has been due to two factors – supply levels and education around the vaccine rollout. Unfortunately, the government (at all levels) has done a shocking job of communicating what is recommended, what is safe and who should get what jab, I.e Pfizer vs AstraZeneca. So a lot of Australians have lost faith in the messages being put out there, and for that, I don’t blame them.

We needed this ad, to appeal to the emotions and mental health of all Australians, who have long been separated from their loved ones and are just dying to travel/move around freely again. Watching the short video, the feeling is less “dictated to” by the government and simply appeals to human emotion.

People start to weigh up the simple risk comparisons for themselves; either get vaccinated and life returns to ‘semi-normal’ with a lower risk of infection. Or don’t get vaccinated, and borders will remain shut for much longer, leaving you with a higher risk of infection.

Personally, I know what risk I’d rather take.

I can’t wait for the day Australians are free to travel again and rejoin the rest of the world. It will be imperfect and the virus will still be out there for sure, but as with any type of risk or danger, I’ll feel better venturing out again with some protection. We will learn to live with it by being proactive instead of reactive. People will fall sick certainly, but with less hospitalization. 

So thank you Qantas, for the surprising motivation to get vaccinated. Your original “I still call Australia home” ad gave me all the feels for our nation when I was living overseas, and now you’ve done it again. For me, life will never be the same again until my freedom to leave the country has returned.

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