The Importance of the COVID-19 Vaccine for First Nation Peoples

The Importance of the COVID-19 Vaccine for First Nation Peoples

With the impacts of COVID-19 being felt across the country, the Watarrka Foundation are this month highlighting the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine for protecting our First Nations communities. As currently experienced by those who call Sydney home, the new Delta variant poses a serious threat to the health and wellbeing of the community. This threat is of particular concern to First Nations people in the Sydney metropolitan area, as well as regional Indigenous communities due to virus overflow from city regions.

As stated by NSW Health:

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults have been identified as a priority group for the COVID-19 vaccination rollout program. This is because of the higher risk of getting very sick and developing serious illness from COVID-19. This may be due to a higher rate of chronic health conditions and in some cases crowded-living conditions, which increases the risk of spreading the infection.”

To avoid a potentially catastrophic outcome, the Watarrka Foundation call for all First Nations people and the wider Australian community to get vaccinated. At current, Aboriginal community-controlled health services are working to secure supplies to vaccinate Indigenous people in urban, regional and remote communities. Additionally, NT Health are currently working to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to remote communities across the Northern Territory in partnership with Aboriginal Health Organisations. Aboriginal people aged 16 years and over can get the vaccine by contacting their local Aboriginal Health Clinic by phone or by walking in.

Benefits of the COVID-19 Vaccine

There are many credible benefits to getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Most notably, once vaccinated you not only protect your own health, but you help protect the health of your community.

Above: Getting your COVID-19 vaccine - An animation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

As outlined by NSW Health, the benefits of receiving the vaccine include:

1. Vaccines make your immune system stronger by training it to recognise and fight against specific viruses.
2. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safe and effective way of protecting yourself from getting sick from COVID-19.
3. When enough people in the community are vaccinated, it slows down the spread of disease through herd immunity.
4. With the majority of people vaccinated, less restrictions will be required. Interstate borders will remain open and people can plan for important events with greater confidence.

Links to the Foundation

On August 4th the Watarrka Foundation celebrated National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day 2021. This day recognises the ways Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities provide love and care to their children, raising them to be strong and safe in their cultural traditions. As a not for profit focused on the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Youth, the Watarrka Foundation endorse the values of Children’s Day and encourage the Watarrka community and beyond to engage with the COVID-19 vaccine program to protect the future for our First Nations youth.

Important Links

Below is a collection of important links relating to the COVID-19 vaccine:

Information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples about COVID-19 vaccines

Northern Territory: Booking your vaccine

Australian Govt. Department of Heath vaccine-enquiries

Preparing for your vaccine

National coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine helpline
If you need information about COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines or help with the COVIDSafe app, call 1800 020 080. If you need assistance with booking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, please note the call centre is unable to book appointments on your behalf.

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