27 August 2021

Healthy start to Queanbeyan's Indigenous vaccine campaign

| Sally Hopman
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The Australian Aboriginal Flag was designed in 1971 by Aboriginal artist Harold Thomas Photo: WIkipedia

Members of Goulburn’s young Indigenous community are urged to attend a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in the former RTA building in Bourke Street this Thursday, August 26, from 9am to 1pm. Photo: Wikipedia.

More COVID-19 clinics will open for members of southern NSW’s Indigenous community after hundreds of people flocked to the first of its kind in Queanbeyan on Monday.

The Queanbeyan clinic, designed for young people over 12 years of age to be vaccinated with the Pfizer injection, was staffed by members of the Southern NSW Local Health District’s Indigenous health team.

A spokeswoman said everyone involved in the Queanbeyan clinic could not have hoped for a better result.

“Our Indigenous health team always responds well to whatever the need is,” she said.

“It was the first time we had done something like this and we managed to organise it in just a week. Everyone was just delighted with the response.

“Having our Indigenous health workers on hand to welcome everyone and then to do the vaccinations, made it all go really well.”

Queanbeyan sign

Many of Queanbeyan’s Indigenous community members attended the city’s first COVID-19 vaccine clinics for those over 12 years of age this week. Photo: File.

“Queanbeyan is a small community – many of the people who came already knew most of the people here. We also wanted to hold it in a non-hospital type environment so people would feel more relaxed.

“It could not have gone better in terms of getting the word out to communities to have the injection to the number of people who turned up.”

Support for the clinic was illustrated not only by the strong roll-up for vaccinations, but also by the number of people who just came to help – and bring donations of food and coffee for the health staff.

The NSW Health spokeswoman said in southern NSW, 4.2 per cent of the population had an Indigenous background – that is, 8664 out of a total population of 211,000 compared to the NSW average of 3.5 per cent.

Two such clinics have already been held at Bega, more will be organised for Queanbeyan as soon as possible and Goulburn’s first one will be held this Thursday, 26 August at the old RTA building at 211 Bourke Street, from 9am to 1pm.

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Goulburn Health Service Aboriginal Health Team Leader Richard Shipp said it had been a difficult time for many people coping with drought, fires, floods and now COVID-19.

“Now COVID is coming so close to home it is important that we as a community come together to fight this horrible disease by getting vaccinated,” he said.

“Widespread vaccination is an important step to protect yourself, your loved ones and the community.

“I do not want to see our mob in the intensive care unit because they’ve contracted the disease.

“Please stay at home unless absolutely necessary and book in for your vaccination.”

Members of Goulburn’s Aboriginal community are urged to call 02 4827 3913 or email [email protected] to book their vaccination. Walk-in appointments will also be welcome on Thursday.

Members of the Indigenous health team will also be on hand on Thursday to help with registrations and inquiries.

More clinics will be held throughout southern NSW depending on demand, the spokeswoman said.

The Australian Government has identified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 12 years and over as a priority group for the COVID-19 vaccination.

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