Fears at borders opening
QUEENSLAND Aboriginal and Islander Health Council chairman Matthew Cooke has expressed disappointment and concern with the government’s lack of consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people before announcing the staged reopening of Queensland’s borders
“There is currently a 30 per cent gap in vaccination rates between Indigenous and non-indigenous Queenslanders”, Mr Cooke said.
“While the government is aiming for 70 per cent vaccination rates overall before border restrictions begin to be lifted on
November 19, the fact that Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population continues to have very low rates of vaccination seems to have been forgotten.
“The government hasn’t talked to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about the implications for our communities of borders reopening.”
Mr Cooke said while he welcomed the certainty of a firm time frame for the easing of cross-border movement, there was now a major imperative to address the potential impacts on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, who were significantly at risk of Covid-19 due to chronic health conditions and overcrowded housing.
“Having a firm time frame makes the fact that we face a significant Covid wave in Queensland very real,” he said.
Mr Cooke said that the state government’s success in keeping
Covid transmission low had also been a barrier for Indigenous people getting vaccinated.