Hon Mark McGowan BA LLB MLA

Hon Mark McGowan BA LLB MLA

Premier; Treasurer; Minister for Public Sector Management; Federal-State Relations

Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Deputy Premier; Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade; Tourism; Commerce; Science

    Keeping Culture Safe and Strong: Vaccination Focus

    19/11/2021 10:30 AM
    • Five-week community effort to boost vaccination rates among Aboriginal people
    • Local community-led vaccination focus with more in-reach opportunities
    • State-wide program to help reach WA's vaccination target of 90 per cent
    • WA's Safe Transition Plan to minimise impact of virus and keep communities safe 

    A new vaccination focus, 'Keeping Culture Safe and Strong', has been launched today to provide more opportunities for Aboriginal people to get vaccinated and protect whole communities and individuals from COVID-19 as Western Australia embarks on its safe transition.


    From next Monday, November 22, 2021 the COVID-19 vaccination program will commence a five-week concerted effort to increase vaccination rates for Aboriginal people across WA.


    A range of intensified in-reach programs based on bringing the vaccine directly to communities will be used as part of the vaccination focus, to make it easier for people to receive the vaccine.


    The 'Keeping Culture Safe and Strong: Vaccination Focus' will cover the entire State, from urban to regional to remote communities, in an effort to support the Commonwealth Government's rollout of the vaccine.


    The focus will be community-led as local leaders such as health staff, the local police, councils and shires, and Aboriginal-led organisations will be yarning to community members and helping them to access a vaccination.


    The new vaccination focus follows significant community engagement over the past months, with the Vaccine Commander and Aboriginal advisors strategically preparing and undertaking engagement on the ground, listening to people from communities across the State.


    This level of community engagement, which has been trialled and used already, has led to the development of innovative strategies expected to be used during the five-week focus, including house-to-house visits and vaccinations for hospital inpatients and outpatients to provide greater convenience and confidence to Aboriginal people and communities.


    Currently, vaccination rates for Aboriginal communities in WA are less than 50 per cent of the eligible population 12 and over having received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.


    Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:


    "I've been making my way around the State to regional areas to see first-hand the vaccination roll out underway and promote the use of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.


    "We know that towards the end of the year, it's a time where many people travel and visit family, therefore this Vaccination Focus is in the weeks leading up to this holiday period.


    "While vaccinating Aboriginal communities was squarely a Federal Government responsibility, the State Government has stepped in along the way and now we're stepping up efforts to ensure Aboriginal people can get vaccinated sooner to protect our people.


    "COVID-19 will enter WA when we transition, it's so important that everyone gets vaccinated, so they are protected from this deadly virus.


    "I want to thank everyone for their efforts in continuing the vaccine roll out and ensuring together we do everything we can to lift the vaccination rates so WA can begin its safe transition." 


    Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:


    "We have a responsibility to protect and safeguard our Aboriginal people and communities, so they can remain safe and strong.


    "The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is free and safe for everybody aged 12 and over, so if you're offered a vaccination, I would strongly urge Aboriginal people, along with all the community, to get the needle while you can.


    "As a State Government, we've been supporting the Federal Government where we can with the roll out including hosting special Aboriginal Family Days, regional Vaxathons and specialised community engagement programs.


    "These have assisted, however, with a State as vast as WA, more needs to be done to ensure there are high rates and safe levels of vaccination coverage right across the State to protect regional and remote communities.


    "The Commonwealth roll out of the vaccination to Aboriginal communities has lagged in WA and now we're doing everything we can to shift these rates and protect Western Australian culture and communities."


    Comments attributed to Vaccine Commander Commissioner Chris Dawson:


    "This is about strengthening the existing program to address a vulnerable cohort of our society. We have a responsibility to all Western Australians.


    "The entire approach will be a collaborative effort to empower local communities, governments and groups to recognise the importance of COVID-19 vaccines and become actively involved in the vaccination roll out.


    "This will be a tailored, multi-pronged approach that is Aboriginal community-driven and health-led, with support from Divisional and community leadership groups.


    "There'll be a strong focus on pre-engaging with Aboriginal people and empowering locals on the ground to identify and engage with community members who can influence change."

    Premier's office - 6552 5000

    Health Minister's office - 6552 6500