The Australian Government is ensuring the COVID-19 Vaccination Program meets the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) acknowledged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have an increased risk of acquiring and developing serious outcomes from communicable diseases due to multiple factors.
It is critical that the vaccine program is designed and delivered in a manner which is accessible, inclusive and culturally safe. This includes ensuring communications are developed and targeted for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and that information and services are delivered in appropriate languages and formats and within appropriate facilities and locations.
A comprehensive vaccine implementation plan (the Plan) has been developed in consultation with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group on COVID-19, and with state and territory governments.
This Plan has been built on principles aligned with the Management Plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Populations, including shared decision-making between Governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; community control and cultural safety across the whole-of-population system.
The Australian Government will work closely together with each state and territory government and with the ACCHS to support vaccination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in each jurisdiction; and across metropolitan, regional, rural, remote and very remote settings.
The Plan is supported by the $31 million COVID-19 vaccination public information campaign which includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and mainstream media channels. Over $500,000 has been provided to support communication with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including the translation of audio content into 15 languages.
In addition, a further $14.8m will be provided to support the sector be vaccine ready. Funding will be flexible to allow for national consistency and to address local needs. This also includes funding to the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) to support coordination of the COVID-19 vaccine program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the country.
This Plan is available on the Department of Health website.
Vaccinations will be accessible on a rolling basis, depending on vaccine delivery schedules and prioritisation of groups for most urgent vaccination.