Kyabram Free Press

Race to raise First Nations vax rates

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Victoria’s reopening could place the health of some vulnerable members of the First Nations community further at risk, with the race to vaccinate them against COVID-19 becoming more urgent.

The state government is expanding First Nations vaccinatio­n programs in Melbourne and parts of regional Victoria in coming weeks, with pop-up sites and dedicated vans to be set up to boost lagging rates.

Almost 80 per cent of First Nations people aged over 12 in Victoria have had their first jab and 58 per cent are fully vaccinated. Both of those levels are lagging behind the wider Victorian community.

“A bit of fear” continues to surround COVID-19 and vaccines among inner-city First Nations communitie­s and its origin is evident, according to Victorian Aboriginal Health Service chief executive Michael Graham.

“You’ve got to look at the history of this country and the amount of viruses that have come into this country ... and the effects that has had on Aboriginal people,” he said.

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