National program to fight flu in indigenous communities
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 and over have been encouraged to be vaccinated against influenza and pneumococcal disease under a national immunisation program launched today by Federal Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Kay Patterson.
1 March 2002
National program to fight flu in indigenous communitiesAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 and over have been encouraged to be vaccinated against influenza and pneumococcal disease under a national immunisation program launched today by Federal Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Kay Patterson.
The federally-funded program offers free vaccines to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults aged 50 years and over and others aged 15 years and onwards who are in poor health.
Launching the 2002 National Indigenous Influenza and Pneumococcal Immunisation Program, Senator Patterson said the national vaccination campaign was designed to meet the health needs of Indigenous Australians whose poorer health status put them at particular risk of these life threatening illnesses.
"As Federal Minister for Health and Ageing, I am responsible for the national effort to reduce illness and death in Indigenous communities, a responsibility I take very seriously," she said.
"It is simply unacceptable that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people die on average 15 to 20 years earlier than non-Indigenous people.
Senator Patterson said it is clear that a comprehensive approach to primary health care can contribute to significant improvements in the health status of Indigenous Australians.
"Vital to the success of the campaign has been the enthusiastic participation of GPs, State and Territory health providers and the Aboriginal community controlled health sector," she said.
"For the 2002 Campaign we have enlisted the support of award-winning Aboriginal actor Deborah Mailman and Torres Strait Islander singer-songwriter Rita Mills.
"These personalities have agreed to appear on campaign materials and Deborah and Rita have recorded radio commercials that will be translated into 24 Indigenous languages to promote the program."
Media contact: Marnie Gaffney, Senator Patterson's Office, 02 6277 7220 or 0402 892 871 or Kay McNiece, Dept. Health & Ageing 0412 132 585