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Cash for jabs not ruled out by vaccine rollout chief

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Australia’s vaccine rollout commander has not ruled out using vaccine incentives including cash – despite Scott Morrison explicitly rejecting the idea – but will first rally the nation to receive jabs.

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Labor wants to give $300 one-off payments to fully vaccinated people but Prime Minister Scott Morrison has rejected the plan, saying he would not ‘buy off’ Australians.

Lieutenant-General John Frewen said all alternatives would be considered if incentives were needed to get people vaccinated later in the rollout.

“There’s cash, there’s the ideas of lotteries, all these things have been discussed,” the rollout commander said.

“But what is resonating with people right now really is being able to get back to the sort of lifestyle we used to enjoy.”

He cited international travel, ending quarantine and avoiding lockdowns as strong incentives, along with people knowing vaccination was the right thing to do.

With demand still outstripping supply, enough Australians are coming forward for jabs without extra motivation at the moment.

Frewen signalled a looming shift in campaign strategy to a “national rallying” of people to be immunised.

“There has to be a collective national sort of sense of why vaccination is important so we’ll be moving to that,” he said.

Messages will be tailored to specific cultural and linguistic groups which may have higher levels of vaccine hesitancy or find it harder to book in for a jab.

“We will increasingly become aware of where there may be pockets of hesitancy or even where some parts of the country are moving more slowly than others,” Frewen said.

Australia has now vaccinated 20 per cent of its population aged 16 and over but continues to lag behind most of the world.

A record 213,947 doses were administered in the past 24 hours.

-with AAP

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