Pete Murray has called on residents of his hometown of Byron Bay to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The ‘Opportunity’ songwriter recently sat down with The Daily Telegraph, in an interview that saw him muse on his hometown’s attitude towards the vaccination.

Byron Bay and its surrounding townships have faced criticism for lagging on vaccination rates. In the Byron Shire, just 31 percent of residents are double vaccinated, with 55 percent receiving one dose. In comparison, the majority of Sydney’s north and west areas is above 85 percent single dose, and two-thirds of the population fully vaccinated.

Blame for the low levels of COVID-19 vaccination has been blamed on a “vocal minority” spreading disinformation about the pandemic. The anti-vaccination sentiment has prevailed in Byron Shire for decades. With The Northern Rivers holding the record of having the lowest childhood immunization rate in NSW.

However, Byron Shire mayor Michael Lyon recently told 2GB that supply was a huge issue when it comes to vaccination rates against COVID.

“It’s not for the reasons outlined in by our leaders in the state,” he said. “In the main it is a supply issue, we have been receiving as an LGA in the North Coast region far less supply other any other LGA around us, at 300 doses a week.”

In his interview with The Daily Telegraph, Pete Murray urged Byron locals to get vaccinated, noting that he believes it is the only way out of the pandemic.

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“I understand there is a lot of fear about it, especially up here, there is a lot more people that don’t want to get vaccinated,” he said.

“But we are lucky because we haven’t had it 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.”

Murray is determined to return to normal life. “We are at a point now where we have to get back,” he said. “That is the challenge now.

“The government has set the rules and we do have to get vaccinated. I am vaccinated, that is something that I had to do. If I don’t, I am not going to be working.”

Though he empathises with those hesitant towards the vaccine. “It is a hard thing but it is difficult to force people to have this as well,” he said. “At the same time, it feels like we may not move forward. It is a tough one.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Murray called on governments to open borders to allow interstate travel. Noting the grave ramifications that the pandemic has had on the Australian music industry. 

“The music industry has been hit really hard, we are the first to stop and the last to come back,” he said. “Sorry to get all political but there needs to be something from the state governments where they stop closing the borders.

“Once you close borders, artists tour around the country and we just can’t do it. We are really struggling financially. We are one country, we can’t just keep operating as separate states.”

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