BREAKING DOWN FEAR
NORTH Queensland Toyota Cowboys young gun Hamiso Tabuai-fidow is speaking out to help boost the slow Covid-19 vaccination rate for Townsville’s First Nation people.
Townsville Hospital and Health Services reported this week that the local Indigenous community’s vaccination rate was almost half that of the city’s general population with 41.2 per cent receiving their first dose and 29.9 per cent fully vaccinated.
Late in the NRL season, the North Queensland Cowboys wore specially designed socks to encourage Indigenous Queenslanders to ‘ Step up for the Jab’ - empowering Indigenous people aged 12 and over to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their family and their community.
Tabuai-fidow also joined with the game’s biggest names in the NRL’S Let’s Tackle This Together campaign, where players outlined their motivations for having the jab and encouraged fans to join them.
Born in Cairns, with family ties to Saibai Island in the Torres Strait, the Cowboys speedster said he received the vaccine, alongside his teammates, just after the season finished.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact on the community over the last two years, but hopefully over the next couple of months we can begin to return to normal life,” Tabuai-fidow said.
“As a proud Indigenous man, I’m particularly hoping our Indigenous community here in North Queensland get behind the state government regional vaccination push.
“Indigenous Australians have a higher risk of developing serious illness from Covid-19. The vaccine means we are less likely to get seriously sick from the virus and it will also slow the spread in our communities.
“I’d encourage all Queenslanders who haven’t had the jab to do so as soon as possible.”
Community support volunteer Bonnie Arnold said there was a lot of misinformation circulating around the Townsville Indigenous community.
The people she helped shared rumours of body bags being delivered to communities, that vaccinations were “white man’s next generation of genocide to eradicate all elders and knowledge of traditional ways”, with others fearing non-traditional medicine.
“The fears are very real, “she said.