Regions first nations vax gap

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

The rate of vaccinations for indigenous people living in Port Augusta is well below the average.

Last week Angela McLachlan from the Flinders and Upper North Local Health Network (LHN) said that the indigenous vaccination rate is not yet in line with the towns greater levels.

"The latest aboriginal vaccination rate for our Local Health Network was 21 per cent fully vaccinated," she said

"So that is significantly lower than were we would like it."

This is compared to 39.2 per cent fully vaccinated at the same point in time in the general Port Augusta population.

Ms McLachlan said it is important to note that this data was recorded before a major vaccination push over the last fortnight.

"We are trying to promote the venerable aboriginal community to come forward and be vaccinated," she said.

"They do have a higher burden of disease and significant comorbidities so it is really essential that the community gets vaccinated."

Local Adnyamathanha elder Cheryl Coulthard-Waye has been outspoken on the topic of indigenous vaccination, said she is saddened by the difference in the averages.

"Why are they not just taking the vaccine?" she said.

"They need to start thinking about the community and go and get vaccinated."

"If not for yourself, for the children and the elders."

Ms Coulthard-Waye said she thinks the difference in averages is due to increased vaccine hesitancy within the community.

"The alternative to not getting the vaccination could be worse," she said.

"If you get your other vaccinations like for the flu, you should be happy to get this one."

Ms McLachlan said that walk in appointments are available for all indigenous people in the region.

For information on vaccines, or to make a booking for a vaccination visit the SA Health website on www.sahealth.sa.gov.au