“We’re starting to turn a corner”: Indigenous community encouraged to get vaccinated

Durri ACMS, COVID-19, Pfizer, Astra Zeneca, Nambucca, Kempsey, Bowraville

As the mid north coast is released from the NSW government’s state at home order, getting vaccinated has never been more important with Kempsey’s Durri Aboriginal Corporation Medical Service encouraging the Indigenous community to roll their sleeves up. Durri’s vaccination program began in August 9, with the medical service vaccinating 327 people as of September 5. “The vaccination program is like any other in the state,” Durri ACMS deputy chief executive officer Narelle Cochrane told the Argus. “In Kempsey we’re vaccinating three days a week. “We’ve accommodated the Aboriginal community through appointments because we found with the walk-ins some of our elderly patients can’t sit around and wait.” This program will extend into the Nambucca shire. “That’s what we’ll look at in the Nambucca Valley, working with our partners, Mid North Coast Local Health District, primary health network and the respiratory clinic,” Ms Cochrane said. “We will have three clinics, two appointment bookings and one will be walk in, it’s about accommodating both and provides options for the Aboriginal community. “Besides Durri, there are a number of vaccination areas (throughout the Macleay Valley) – the community health centre, medical centres and pharmacies.” “We’ve got the vaccinations now, we just need to get the numbers.” Mid North Coast Health District chief executive officer Stewart Dowrick said both organisations have been coordinating with each other for over a year. “We’ve been working closely with Durri ACMS, Steve Blunden (CEO) and his team have been incredibly supportive,” he explained in late August. “We’re working hand in hand with our Aboriginal community and medical services to identify what approach is best to take there. “We’ve been working with those guys very early in the piece last year when COVID first started.” With vaccine hesitancy prevalent throughout various communities, Durri have been conducting an array of promotional activities to ensure people protect themselves against the virus. “We’ve been going door to door in masks and providing information,” Ms Cochrane explained. “We’ve conducted question and answers to dispel some myths around the vaccine in Aboriginal communities and we are getting numbers once that’s been done. “We’ve already had significant expressions of interest appointments booked in Nambucca and we’re working with the Bowraville community and utilising St Mary’s Bowraville to vaccinate that age group and promote information.” Ms Cochrane added listening to the concerns of the community has provided opportunities to learn about reasons for hesitancy. “It’s been a really good listening opportunity to hear what some of those myths are,” she said. “People now understand the information and we’re starting to turn a corner, people are putting their hands up. “It’s safer to have the vaccine, because COVID is going to be around forever and you won’t get as sick. “We’re in the process now of targeting individual age groups, utilising social media and local faces to promote it.” As seen throughout Central West and Far West NSW communities, COVID exposure presents a significant risk for isolated towns where access to health services is limited. With that in consideration, ensuring a community like Bellbrook is well supported remains a top priority for Durri. “Previously we’ve worked with Thunggutti Local Aboriginal Land Council chief executive officer Arthur Bain, doctors and police to conduct door to door information sessions at Bellbrook,” Ms Cochrane explained. “What we’ve found is we need to target the younger age groups as there’s still a bit of reluctance. “People from Bellbrook were coming down and being vaccinated through Booroongen Djugun when they obtained vaccines and there was a three day blitz. “We’re considering doing an outreach and going up but there’s a few things we need to take into consideration to keep our community safe. “We need to ensure it’s safe to go up there and do that, a lot of our community have chronic diseases and we want to protect them. “We’re looking at weekend blitzes supporting the health service – it’s about working with service providers to support others.” As of September 5, 223 of the 327 patients have received their second dose from Durri. In the Kempsey LGA, 32.4% have been double dosed by various service providers, as of September 6. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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Durri’s vaccination program began in August 9, with the medical service vaccinating 327 people as of September 5.

“The vaccination program is like any other in the state,” Durri ACMS deputy chief executive officer Narelle Cochrane told the Argus.

“In Kempsey we’re vaccinating three days a week.

“We’ve accommodated the Aboriginal community through appointments because we found with the walk-ins some of our elderly patients can’t sit around and wait.”

This program will extend into the Nambucca shire.

“That’s what we’ll look at in the Nambucca Valley, working with our partners, Mid North Coast Local Health District, primary health network and the respiratory clinic,” Ms Cochrane said.

“We will have three clinics, two appointment bookings and one will be walk in, it’s about accommodating both and provides options for the Aboriginal community.

“Besides Durri, there are a number of vaccination areas (throughout the Macleay Valley) – the community health centre, medical centres and pharmacies.”

“We’ve got the vaccinations now, we just need to get the numbers.”

Durri ACMS deputy CEO Narelle Cochrane, Darrimba Maarra practice manager Celia Griffen, MNC Local Health District community and allied health manager Andrew Bailey and Namubcca Health Centre practice manager Sheree Smith. Photo: Supplied

Durri ACMS deputy CEO Narelle Cochrane, Darrimba Maarra practice manager Celia Griffen, MNC Local Health District community and allied health manager Andrew Bailey and Namubcca Health Centre practice manager Sheree Smith. Photo: Supplied

Mid North Coast Health District chief executive officer Stewart Dowrick said both organisations have been coordinating with each other for over a year.

“We’ve been working closely with Durri ACMS, Steve Blunden (CEO) and his team have been incredibly supportive,” he explained in late August.

“We’re working hand in hand with our Aboriginal community and medical services to identify what approach is best to take there.

“We’ve been working with those guys very early in the piece last year when COVID first started.”

With vaccine hesitancy prevalent throughout various communities, Durri have been conducting an array of promotional activities to ensure people protect themselves against the virus.

“We’ve been going door to door in masks and providing information,” Ms Cochrane explained.

Tracey Bradshaw being vaccinated by Kimmy Wright. Photo: Supplied

Tracey Bradshaw being vaccinated by Kimmy Wright. Photo: Supplied

“We’ve conducted question and answers to dispel some myths around the vaccine in Aboriginal communities and we are getting numbers once that’s been done.

“We’ve already had significant expressions of interest appointments booked in Nambucca and we’re working with the Bowraville community and utilising St Mary’s Bowraville to vaccinate that age group and promote information.”

Ms Cochrane added listening to the concerns of the community has provided opportunities to learn about reasons for hesitancy.

“It’s been a really good listening opportunity to hear what some of those myths are,” she said.

“People now understand the information and we’re starting to turn a corner, people are putting their hands up.

“It’s safer to have the vaccine, because COVID is going to be around forever and you won’t get as sick.

“We’re in the process now of targeting individual age groups, utilising social media and local faces to promote it.”

As seen throughout Central West and Far West NSW communities, COVID exposure presents a significant risk for isolated towns where access to health services is limited.

With that in consideration, ensuring a community like Bellbrook is well supported remains a top priority for Durri.

“Previously we’ve worked with Thunggutti Local Aboriginal Land Councilchief executive officer Arthur Bain, doctors and police to conduct door to door information sessions at Bellbrook,” Ms Cochrane explained.

“What we’ve found is we need to target the younger age groups as there’s still a bit of reluctance.

“People from Bellbrook were coming down and being vaccinated through Booroongen Djugun when they obtained vaccines and there was a three day blitz.

“We’re considering doing an outreach and going up but there’s a few things we need to take into consideration to keep our community safe.

“We need to ensure it’s safe to go up there and do that, a lot of our community have chronic diseases and we want to protect them.

“We’re looking at weekend blitzes supporting the health service – it’s about working with service providers to support others.”

As of September 5, 223 of the 327 patients have received their second dose from Durri.

In the Kempsey LGA, 32.4% have been double dosed by various service providers, as of September 6.

Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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