With COVID-19 numbers growing across New South Wales (NSW) the AH&MRC has advocated for increased COVID-19 vaccines for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) to ensure the safety of Aboriginal people and communities. AH&MRC is proudly supporting 46 clinics across 29 ACCHOs in NSW to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine, with 8 clinics set to receive record numbers of vaccine doses.
Outbreaks of COVID-19 in regional NSW over the last two weeks have seen COVID-19 cases emerge in areas such as Dubbo and Walgett with close contact locations including Maitland, Mudgee, Bathurst and Orange. As the Aboriginal Health Peak Body in New South Wales, the AH&MRC has played a central role in supporting the ACCHOs to roll out the COVID-19 vaccines.
ACCHOs have delivered safe and effective COVID-19 responses to their communities for nearly 18 months now since the pandemic began. Strong communication around social distancing, isolation and quarantine have led to small numbers of Aboriginal cases of COVID-19. The current outbreak in the Greater Sydney area is now seeing cases move out into regional areas with high populations of Aboriginal people. ACCHOs that were receiving up to 120 doses of the Pfizer vaccine per week are now set to receive up to 600 doses per week in high-risk areas.
“Partnerships between the AH&MRC and the Rural Doctors Network in NSW have been fundamental in ensuring the ACCHOs are equipped with enough protective equipment and have access to the workforce to roll the vaccine out efficiently,” said Dr Peter Malouf, Executive Director of Operations at the AH&MRC.
The AH&MRC has provided vaccine readiness support to ACCHOs across NSW as well as providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Aboriginal Lands Councils in NSW, Schools, and community groups keeping all Aboriginal people safe irrespective of whether they are patients of an ACCHO.
“In order to keep our people safe, it is essential that the ACCHO sector, including the AH&MRC, have the support of the Ministry of Health and other NSW Government branches. We are a priority population and we need action. We’re seeing workforce fatigue because we haven’t been resourced to be the leaders of the vaccine rollout for Aboriginal people. We can’t continue to foot the bill for this.” said Jade Hansen, Manager of Service Performance and Quality at the AH&MRC.
The AH&MRC is the Peak Body for Aboriginal Health in NSW. We represent the views and interests of 47 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.
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