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First Nations people — coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19 can cause serious health issues. Thousands of people around the world are dying of COVID-19 every day. Since the beginning of pandemic more than 2 million people have died. There have been more than 100 million cases of COVID-19 around the world. Fortunately, in Australia we have been able to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and have not experienced the same impact as other

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is a safe and effective way of protecting yourself from getting really sick from COVID-19. Encourage your family, Elders and community to get vaccinated so that they are protected from serious illness from COVID-19.

The COVID-19 vaccine is voluntary, available to everyone in Australia and free.

Do I have to have the vaccine?

No, but we are asking everyone who can be vaccinated to get vaccinated. The vaccine is our best chance at reducing the seriousness of COVID-19 in individuals and potentially controlling the spread in our community.

Why should I get the vaccine?

Getting the vaccine means we can continue to freely catch up at family gatherings in the park, in our homes or elsewhere and have a good laugh and lots of fun. This might mean attending Murri carnivals or cultural events like NAIDOC activities.

These places generally have a lot of people and it can be very hard to socially distance and keep 1.5m apart. This increases the risk of germs spreading including COVID-19.

By having the COVID-19 vaccination this will help provide extra protection for yourself, community and our vulnerable like our Elders and those who have health problems who attend these family gatherings or culturally important events.

How do I protect my children or family members and friends who can’t be vaccinated?

First Nations communities have done a deadly job in keeping safe during COVID-19 by practicing social distancing, covering our coughs or sneezes and staying home if we are sick and getting a COVID-19 test straight away.

By having the COVID-19 vaccine you can provide extra protection for your children, people in your care and any family and friends who can’t be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Who will put the vaccine into my arm?

A specially trained nurse in your local area will give you the vaccine via an injection into your upper arm.

Will everyone have access to the vaccine if they would like to receive it – even if they live in remote areas? 

Yes, the approved vaccines will be accessible to everyone in Australia. For some groups, such as children, we need to wait for further trials. These trials will confirm safety of the vaccine before it becomes available to them.

The Australian Government is working closely with State and Territory Governments and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) to ensure the vaccine is easily accessible to everyone.

There will be many sites across Australia where the vaccine will be available. A lot of them will be in rural and remote locations. This includes sites such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Services, GP-led Respiratory clinics, GPs or state/territory health services/clinics or pharmacies.

If there are several locations close to you, you may be able to choose. For example, this can be an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Service, a GP clinic or community pharmacy.

I’ve heard that the vaccine has to be kept at a very cold temperature to work. How are you planning to safely transport it to remote communities? 

The Australian Government Department of Health is working with transport companies to ensure the safe delivery of the vaccines as a priority. This includes using refrigerated vehicles and specialised equipment to keep the vaccine at the right temperature.

The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will be managed through 30 to 50 key hospitals across urban and rural Australia, because it needs very cold storage. We are working on ways to make the Pfizer vaccine accessible via mobile clinics. The AstraZeneca vaccine only requires the same refrigeration as other vaccines, such as the flu vaccine, making it easier to transport.

People tell me different things about the vaccine, I’m not sure what to believe?

When looking for information, use trusted sources such as Queensland Health and the Australian Government. These sites will help you make an informed choice.

What else can I do?

You need to continue COVID Safe behaviours, such as keeping two big steps away from others, good hand hygiene, staying home if unwell and getting tested for COVID-19

Can I talk to someone for further details about the COVID-19 vaccine?

Please contact your local health clinic or GP to discuss your personal situation regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.