Call to put ‘pedal to the metal’ on Queensland's Indigenous vaccination rate

23 August 2021

Professor James Ward, Director of the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health at UQ, spoke with The Age on the need for an increase in COVID-19 vaccinations amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

He said the situation in NSW was concerning but there needed to also be a focus on getting more vaccine doses into Queensland Indigenous communities.

“While there’s a lot of focus on Western NSW we shouldn’t lose focus on Queensland just because we’re relatively free of the virus right now,” he said.

“We should be putting the pedal to the metal right now because it’s only a matter of time before some human stuffs up and brings it into Queensland.”

Professor Ward said aside from the NSW situation, what haunts him is examples like the Navajo nation in the US, which has suffered a huge blow from COVID-19.

“I’ve talked to communities of 4000 in the United States where 52 elders passed away,” he said.

“All of their traditions, all their language was wiped out because of COVID, and that is why we’re very concerned about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

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