Musician and SAS Australia star Pete Murray has urged locals in his hometown of Byron Bay to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph’s Confidential on Monday, the 51-year-old suggested vaccines are the only way to end lockdown and ‘get back’ to normal life.
The sleepy New South Wales coastal town has a strong anti-vax stance with many still in denial about the pandemic.
‘I understand there is a lot of fear about it, especially up here [in Byron], there is a lot more people that don’t want to get vaccinated,’ Pete, who is vaccinated, said.
‘But we are lucky because we haven’t had it [the virus] come through here. If it did come through, and a lot of people got sicker and people were dying, that might change people’s opinions,’ the artist went on to say.
The region has incredibly low vaccination rates due to the area’s anti-vax stance.
However the celebrity favourite paradise is set to face a huge wave of Covid-19 cases by Christmas, doctors fear, as the area remains largely unvaccinated with many still in denial about the pandemic.
Fragments of Covid-19 were found in the Byron sewage systems over the weekend, as Lismore, a town south-west of the area, was plunged into lockdown on Thursday.
The Byron Bay region is bracing for an outbreak, after a parent and child returning from Sydney brought the virus to Lismore, where it has since spread.
Only a third of Lismore’s population are fully-vaccinated, and 62 per cent have received a first dose.
While Lismore is generally accepting of the impacts of the virus, the greater area includes anti-vax capitals such as Mullumbimby and Nimbin.
The neighbouring Byron Shire has an even lower vaccination percentage, leaving it even more susceptible once lockdown is removed in NSW.
Only 31 per cent of residents are fully-vaccinated and 55 per cent have had a single dose.
While some are claiming lack of supply is responsible for the low vaccination rates, medical professionals are claiming anti-vaxxers in the area were making fake appointments, meaning precious vaccines were being thrown out.
Graffiti is littered across the main road, painting anti-vaccination slogans and Covid-19 denying ramblings.
‘A lot of people who see themselves as the cool kids – the punks – they just don’t like being told what to do by anyone ever,’ local lawyer Mark Swivel said.
Mr Swivel, who is running for mayor, also claimed the Covid-19 deniers would rather flip the bird to establishment than take one for the team and get the jab.
The warning comes after an anti-lockdown protest in Byron Bay last Saturday.
Between 200 and 300 people faced off against police in the sleepy beach town on the Far North Coast of NSW – despite not being in lockdown.