Many Aucklanders now hesitant to get tested for COVID-19 – survey

April 7, 2022

Many Aucklanders now hesitant to get tested for COVID-19 – survey

A NEGATIVE RESULT DISPLAYED ON A RAPID ANTIGEN TEST (RAT), NOW THE MOST USED TEST FOR COVID-19 IN NEW ZEALAND. PHOTO: DEVIN PIKE

Many Aucklanders are now hesitant to take a COVID-19 test over fears of testing positive and having to isolate, a Te Waha Nui survey has found.

More than 43 percent surveyed expressed wariness towards testing, rating themselves as either slightly, moderately, or strongly hesitant.

And one expert explains it shows an increasingly 'weighing up" approach which may prioritise personal over community benefits.

The survey asked 160 respondents in the Auckland region to describe how hesitant they feel or have previously felt to receive a test, rating on a scale from “Not Hesitant” to “Strongly Hesitant.”

The 43.6 percent hesitant often cited stressors such as learning of a positive test, isolating for at least seven days, and missing work and leisure activities.

One, Thomas Dela Rue, recently recovered from COVID-19 and found 10 days isolating in an apartment affected his studies and mental wellbeing.

“I’m a creative person … when I [had] COVID I couldn’t do any [classwork] ‘cause I kinda need to go outside to get inspiration," said the 19-year-old university student.

“It’s just hard, it’s not physically daunting ... it’s more mentally [daunting] the whole time and people are a bit scared of that.”

WATCH: Thomas Dela Rue on Covid testing hesitancy

University of Auckland psychology professor Douglas Elliffe says that these responses suggest that many Aucklanders are weighing their own pros and cons of getting tested.

“People may be feeling that the cost to themselves of isolation is becoming greater than the benefit.

“People will be thinking, ‘okay, what are the costs and the benefits of the two ways this could go? … what’s gonna happen if I test positive? What’s gonna happen if I test negative?’ … so I think that some of those things will be guiding the way people are behaving.”

Elliffe also says that more people may now be prioritizing the personal benefits of getting tested, rather than community or national benefits.

“[When testing positive] there’s benefit for other people around you … and benefit for the country … whether those benefits will outweigh the costs to yourself is a different question.”

The TWN survey posed six questions regarding COVID-19 testing and was available across three Auckland-based Facebook groups for two weeks.

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