WORK is well under way to have most of Ballarat's Indigenous peoples fully vaccinated against coronavirus by Christmas with superclinics and promotional tools aiming to boost jab uptake.
Indigenous vaccination rates are lagging behind the general population in most parts of the nation, federal health data released this week shows, but the proportions of full vaccinated Indigenous peoples are strong in Victoria.
In the Ballarat region, which takes in part of the Grampians, Indigenous jab rates are on a par with 59.24 per cent of Indigenous peoples aged 15-plus having had one dose and 37.5 per cent double-dosed.
Overall jab rates for the Ballarat region this week stand at 58.9 per cent first dose and 39.7 per cent fully vaccinated people.
Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative medical practice manager Paul Kochskamper said these were promising signs but the goal now was to step up the city's vaccination program. BADAC's aim is to get at least one jab in all eligible arms of First Nations people and most with a second by Christmas.
Mr Kochskamper said community elders had largely lead the way because many had been popping in for regular health checks and to receive information. The challenge for BADAC now was to reach younger Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the community.
"We're extremely proud of community involvement in the community vaccination program and also compliance to lockdown restrictions - face masks, QR codes, hand sanitising - and for taking that on and supporting us," Mr Kochskamper said.
BADAC is planning to run superclinics, with dates to be advised, with clinic doctors and nurses focusing on a community vaccination blitz. This will include a push for youth to ensure Indigenous students are vaccinated ahead of year 12 exams, a move also still to be locked in.
Also in planning is a Dreamtime-inspired story about the importance of getting vaccinated and protecting the community and t-shirts for people who are fully vaccinated. The t-shirts are an extension of wristbands which BADAC offers to vaccinated people with the words "immunity, community, unity; together we will be immune".
Mr Kochskamper said it was all about finding ways to spark conversation and extend reach to encourage more people to get a jab.
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BADAC has delivered about 290 first doses and 214 second dose COVID vaccines.
FIrst Nations children aged 12-plus have been able to access Pfizer jabs from BADAC the past fortnight in the continued vaccination roll-out.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples are at greater risk of developing a serious illness from COVID-19 if aged 50-plus or with chronic health conditions, according to Victoria's health department. Younger Indigenous people have been included in the roll-out earlier in a bid to prevent putting elders and older family members at risk.
Anyone with queries can call BADAC's medical clinic on 5331 5344. Indigenous people from other GP clinics are able to get immunised at BADAC.
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