Vaccination access needed for vulnerable immigrant populations

By Tom Ravlic

Wednesday September 8, 2021

The National COVID Vaccine Taskforce heard about people who don’t have Medicare, and talking with doctors who speak their language.
The National COVID Vaccine Taskforce heard about people who don’t have Medicare, and talking with doctors who speak their language. (Carlo/Adobe)

The National COVID Vaccine Taskforce is investigating how to give access to vaccinations to vulnerable populations and people in immigration detention, according to a communique issued following the August meeting of the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities COVID-19 Health Advisory Group.

Advisory group members meet on a monthly basis and they are drawn from different social and community organisations as well as the medical profession.

The group heard during its August 27 meeting that there are people who don’t have Medicare and how this fact might be recorded as well as discussing how to get people in vulnerable populations to speak with doctors who speak their language.

A representative from the Migration Council of Australia (MCA) told the meeting about the communications and consultation initiatives it has in place for migrant communities.

“MCA continues to work with relevant sectors, including facilitating grassroots consultation sessions with settlement support providers and women from migrant and refugee backgrounds,” the communique states.

“MCA is co-designing and delivering multilingual communications, including a campaign with ethnic community radio stations, a social media campaign for young women, and animations and explainers about the vaccines.”

The advisory group was also reminded about the mandatory vaccination requirement for in-residential aged care from September 17 and aged care facilities are required to report staff vaccination rates to the Federal Government on a weekly basis.

“The taskforce is helping workers to access vaccines in a range of ways including hosting a series of webinars for residential aged care workers,” the communique states.

There was also a discussion among adviser group members about the need to get information about workers from multicultural backgrounds who are not yet vaccinated so that they can get access to vaccines.

Taskforce members also updated the advisory group on mental health initiatives such as the COVID-19 Mental Health Boost for NSW and the pop-up Head to Health clinics.

A draft concept for the reporting of vaccination levels of people in multicultural communities with data drawn from the national immunisation register was presented. The communique says the idea was well received and that the taskforce and the Department of Health would continue to develop the vaccination level report with the help of advisory group members.


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