Update for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples about Australia’s COVID-19 vaccines
The COVID-19 vaccine rollout is starting in February. Getting a vaccine is a safe and effective way of protecting yourself from getting really sick from COVID-19. Encourage your family, Elders and community to get vaccinated when it is their turn so they are protected from it as well.
Free, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines will help protect our community from COVID-19.
A staged rollout of the vaccines will commence in February 2021.
In January, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has provisionally approved the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in Australia for people over 16 years. This vaccine will be managed through 30 to 50 key hospitals across urban, regional and rural Australia.
On 16 February, the TGA provisionally approved the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. AstraZeneca will be distributed through additional sites, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Services, general practice clinics, existing Commonwealth GP respiratory clinics, state-run vaccination clinics and pharmacies.
Approved vaccines will be rolled out in phases. It is important that the first vaccines go to the people who need them most. The roll-out will start with priority groups such as health workers, quarantine and border workers and some other services. Aged care and disability care residents will also be included in this first phase.
As you may know, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults have been identified as a priority group for vaccination. This is because there is a higher risk of getting and developing serious illness from COVID-19 due to a number of factors. This may include a higher rate of chronic health conditions and in some cases crowded-living conditions, which increases the risk of spreading the infection.
The Australian Government is working closely with state and territory governments and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are easily accessible to everyone, including remote communities.
The vaccine is free and you can choose if you want to get vaccinated. However, by getting it, you will help protect yourself, Elders, your loved ones and your community from COVID-19.
Rest assured that the approved vaccines will be safe and effective. Australia’s medicines regulator, the Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA), has strict standards when approving vaccines.
The TGA will continue to check vaccines for quality as they are produced. Health care services and the TGA will also continue to check for any unexpected side-effects following vaccination.
COVID-19 vaccines are just one part of keeping the community safe and healthy. People and communities have done a great job so far in staying COVIDSafe. It will be essential to continue practising COVIDSafe behaviours. This includes regularly washing your hands and keeping two big steps away from others.
Check out information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the COVID-19 vaccines. We have also developed communication resources such as newsletter articles, a poster, social media content that you can share with your community.