Call to put 'pedal to the medal' on Qld's Indigenous vaccination rate

19 Aug 2021

Professor James Ward from UQ's Poche Centre for Indigenous Health features in the Brisbane Times discussing increasing the COVID-19 vaccine rate in the state's Indigenous communities.

Concerns have been raised by that number, given the situation unfolding in regional NSW due to the ongoing outbreak, with cases recorded in regional centres like Dubbo and Walgett which have high Indigenous populations.

Professor James Ward, director of the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health at the University of Queensland, said the situation in NSW was concerning but there needed to also be a focus on getting more vaccine doses into Queensland Indigenous communities.

“While there’s a lot of focus on Western NSW we shouldn’t lose focus on Queensland just because we’re relatively free of the virus right now,” he said.

“We should be putting the pedal to the metal right now because it’s only a matter of time before some human stuffs up and brings it into Queensland.”

Professor Ward said aside from the NSW situation, what haunts him is examples like the Navajo nation in the US, which has suffered a huge blow from COVID-19.

“I’ve talked to communities of 4000 in the United States where 52 elders passed away,” he said.

“All of their traditions, all their language was wiped out because of COVID, and that is why we’re very concerned about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.