More funding for Indigenous vaccine scheme

By Paul Osborne
Pat Turner says recent outbreaks demonstrate the need to accelerate the vaccine rollout. (AAP)

Health authorities believe an injection of new funding will ensure all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will be at least offered a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year.

Hesitancy, access and language issues have been blamed on a slower-than-expected rollout to Indigenous communities.

The federal government on Tuesday announced an extra $7.7 million for the Indigenous peak health body NACCHO, on top of $19 million already provided to support the pandemic response.

The funding will allow more vaccine liaison officers to be employed, working directly with remote communities.

It will also provide more community engagement activities, address vaccine hesitancy and facilitate informed consent.

NACCHO chief executive Pat Turner said recent outbreaks demonstrated the need to accelerate the vaccine rollout for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

"This additional funding will further bolster our work in supporting all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to access a vaccine by the end of this year," she said.

As well, First Nations Media Australia will produce and distribute a package of culturally appropriate public relations content to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples about the vaccine rollout.

The latest government figures show 230,466 Indigenous people over the age of 16 have had at least one dose, with 128,232 fully vaccinated.


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