More than 250 Aboriginal people, including children aged 12 to 15, received their first COVID-19 vaccination today at a dedicated outreach event hosted by Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) at Mount Druitt Hospital’s Aboriginal Health Hub.
WSLHD Aboriginal Health Service manager Belinda Cashman said the western Sydney Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community has been turning out in force for vaccination – and her own 13-year-old twin girls were among those to receive their vaccinations today.
“We started running these outreach clinics in July. They’re always booked out and we were being asked when children could get vaccinated,” Belinda said.
There’s a really big call to protect our children, which in turn helps keep the community safe.
“I’m very fortunate to work for Western Sydney Local Health District and have the freedom to be innovative and think outside the boundaries to help get people vaccinated.”
Care packs were also handed out to support families with learning at home during lockdown and every recipient received more information about remaining COVID-safe after being vaccinated.
The Aboriginal outreach day was one of several held across western Sydney in recent weeks with more planned for the near future.
WSLHD Aboriginal Health Strategy director Braiden Abala said he was encouraged by the overwhelming response from the community.
People want to get vaccinated. It’s just a matter of making things culturally appropriate, targeted and easy to access, which is exactly what our clinics do.Braiden Abala
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 due to the higher burden of other diseases. We really want to protect our elders and vaccination is part of that. By protecting yourself you help create a protective barrier for those around you.”
WSLHD chief executive Graeme Loy said he was proud to see the District ensuring priority populations have access to COVID-19 vaccination – and was equally proud of the District Executive helping administer COVID-19 vaccinations today.
“Our COVID-19 Vaccination Outreach Team has been doing incredible work to reach our diverse community, including Aboriginal people, new migrants and refugees, people with a mental illness, and those experiencing or at risk of homelessness,” Graeme said.
“Our health heroes have administered more than 400,000 vaccinations and each day they continue to work hard and innovate to keep all people in western Sydney safe from COVID-19.”