Elder calling on indigenous community to get vaccinated

Be safe: Adnyamathanha elder Cheryl Coulthard-Waye wants her community to know that their risk to COVID is not over.
Be safe: Adnyamathanha elder Cheryl Coulthard-Waye wants her community to know that their risk to COVID is not over.

Adnyamathanha elder Cheryl Coulthard-Waye is imploring the local indigenous community to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

The COVID-19 scare over the weekend has prompted Ms Coulthard-Waye to reach out to the local indigenous community to remind them that the risks are not over.

"The Aboriginal people need to get the COVID vaccine, not just for their own safety but for the community," she said.

"There are no guarantees that COVID will not spread to our community, and put our people at risk"

"These two truck drivers that drove through last week did not know they had it."

"You may not know until it is too late."

There are no guarantees that COVID will not spread to our community, and put our people at risk.

Cheryl Coulthard-Waye

Ms Coulthard-Waye believes there were many people in her community hesitant to get vaccinated.

"They are worried about side effects, but everything has risks," she said.

"Walking across the street is a risk, but vaccinations are needed to keep everyone safe."

Ms Coulthard-Waye is all too familiar with what diseases has meant for Aboriginal peoples in Australia, and does not want to unnecessarily lose community members.

"Back in the old times when our ancestors all died of measles, chicken pox and Spanish flu they could not be immunised," she said.

"But they can now, and I want people to stop and think about our ancestors.

"It is the choice we can make for the sake of our people."

Ms Coulthard-Waye received both her vaccination doses earlier this year.

Statistics published at the start of the month by Health Australia said that within the Barossa/Yorke/Mid North 38.1 per cent of people aged over 15 have had their first dose, but just 15.4pc of people have had both, the lowest rate in the state.

SA Health states that as Aboriginal people have higher rates of pre-existing and chronic health conditions, this increases the risk of getting very sick or dying from COVID-19.

All South Australians aged 16 years and over are eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19.