Media interest in Australia’s vaccine rollout continues to grow, with May recording a record number of news items on the topic.
There were more than 45,000 distinct metropolitan media items about the vaccination program in May across online, print, radio and TV, according to Streem data.
This was up 3.3% from April, when Australia amended its vaccine rollout strategy in response to rare blood clotting linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Overall there have been more than 210,000 distinct metropolitan items on Australia’s vaccine rollout this year, once syndication has been removed.
Reports of vaccine hesitancy rose sharply in May
The leading topic linked to vaccination coverage in 2021 has been the speed of the rollout, with the Streem data showing it was a key theme in 15% of coverage.
However, it was changes to eligibility criteria that was the number one vaccination topic in May, ahead of discussion linking the vaccine rollout to the reopening of Australia’s borders.
Other topics to experience a large rise in focus in May included ‘vaccine hesitancy’ and the associated risk of further outbreaks.
Lab leak theory gains traction in media coverage
Meanwhile, May has also seen a 12-month high in media reporting of the possibility that COVID-19 originated from a laboratory leak in Wuhan.
The theory had largely disappeared from news bulletins towards the end of last year, before a renewed surge.
There were 4300% more Australian media items on the issue in May compared to six months previously.