Partnership delivers COVID-19 jabs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
More than 560 people have rolled up their sleeves for a COVID-19 jab at a special pop-up vaccination clinic for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
It was set up by Sydney Local Health District in partnership with the Aboriginal Medical Service Redfern and held at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence.
In a show of support, Federal Labor MP Linda Burney, a proud Wiradjuri woman and the Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians, visited the Koori Vaccination Clinic to urge people to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their family and the community.
"It is such a fantastic initiative," she said.
The three-day clinic, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 12 and above, is the latest collaborative project between the District and AMS Redfern in response to COVID-19.
"We've been working closely with AMS Redfern since the pandemic began. Getting vaccinated is the best way to ensure our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community is protected against COVID-19," Dr Teresa Anderson, the District's Chief Executive, said.
LaVerne Bellear, the CEO of AMS Redfern, delivered a strong message to the community.
"Don't hesitate, vaccinate. We want to keep our community safe by getting the COVID vaccination. Unless all our mob are safe, none of us will be," she said.
Other prominent members of the Aboriginal community threw their support behand the clinic, including Virgin Australia's first Aboriginal Boeing 737 captain, Kali Bellear, who's keen to return to the skies.
"We've all got to do our bit to keep each other safe. …Get vaccinated so I can have the honour of flying you home to visit family on country," he said.
It's a sentiment echoed by Aboriginal businesswoman Jarin Baigent, who founded yoga mat and fitness brand Jarin Street, and acted to protect her family.
"Admittedly, I had some hesitancy in getting my COVID vaccinations, but I realise now how deadly this virus is. And, for me, I just want to do my bit in protecting the elders in my community and the broader community as well and keeping my little family safe," she said.
The Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council's CEO, Nathan Moran, said vaccination is crucial to being able to gather face-to-face again.
"Please get along and get ourselves vaccinated so we can get back together again as soon as possible."
It's a view shared by the CEO of the NSW Child, Family and Community Peak Aboriginal Corporation, John Leha, who said getting vaccinated was key to restrictions being eased.
"I encourage you all to all go out there and do that to make sure you're all protecting your families and we can all get out of lockdown sometime sooner."
Author, playwright and performer with the Stiff Gins Nardi Simpson said she was heartened by the community's response.
"The community has come together to look after each other... to stay home… to get vaccinated… and to really take care of each other in the hardest times."
The District is running Mobile Vaccination Clinics at Burwood, Glebe, Marrickville, Riverwood and Zetland this week, providing vaccination appointments for anyone aged 16-59.
The District is also operating vaccination centres at Bicentennial Park, Canterbury Hospital, RPA, Sydney Airport and Sydney Olympic Park.