29 April 2022

First Nations community encouraged to get protected from COVID, the flu before winter

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Woman being interviewed

The #fabvac winter campaign encourages First Nations community members to check in with their GP or AMS about boosters and the flu shot. Photo: COORDINARE.

As the country heads into winter, a new campaign is encouraging First Nations people to check in with their doctors to discuss COVID-19 boosters, vaccines for kids and the flu shot.

South Eastern NSW primary health network COORDINARE has partnered with local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) for the digital campaign titled #fabvac.

“This campaign highlights how vaccines make a difference, even for people who’ve had COVID,” COORDINARE’s Aboriginal Health Service development and performance manager Nathan Deaves said.

“The videos are made by local young Aboriginal people who recently yarned with local Aboriginal community members and health workers about their experiences of COVID and attitudes to vaccines.”

One of the videos features Uncle Ken, a community member from Bermagui, who said 13 family members ended up catching the virus.

“It is just as well we had the double jab in the first place, only the two out of the 13 went to hospital, but just overnight and they came back home,” he said.

“It was scary at the time, we didn’t know if they were going to come back or not. We all said to ourselves we’ve got to get the jab whether we like it or not.

“We’re all going to get COVID, but we won’t get it as bad so that’s what happened – no one got it as bad.”

Mr Deaves said the key message with the #fabvac campaign was that community members needed to keep up to date with their COVID vaccines because their immunity to current and future variants of the virus does reduce over time.

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Respiratory illnesses spread more in winter because we all spend more time indoors, so getting the flu shot is also important, he said.

“Many of our people suffer from poor health outcomes and COVID-19 can cause severe medical complications. COVID vaccines provide additional protection that could save someone’s life,” Mr Deaves said.

“Getting a flu vaccine at the same time is recommended and our people can get flu vaccines for free, including kids aged six months and older. Kids need to be five years old to get a COVID vaccine.”

The #fabvac videos will be shared across a range of social media channels and you can see the first on COORDINARE’s Facebook page.

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