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Community champions encourage vaccine uptake in the Northern Peninsula Area

[by Christina Koullas]


Vaccine champions Clifford Wasiu and Jeffrey Aniba. Image: supplied

Community-owned Indigenous organisation, Bamaga Enterprises Ltd (BEL), has funded $11,000 towards a local campaign engaging COVID vaccination ‘Community Champions’.


According to Team Leader, Hylda Wapau, from Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service (TCHHS), the strategy aims to increase the vaccination uptake of families and clients within the five Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) Communities.


“We are utilising local champions to assist our Indigenous Covid-19 Vaccination & Engagement Team,” Ms Wapau said.


“Our champions are highly respected community members: Clifford Wasiu, Reginald Williams and Jeffrey Aniba. With their support, we have had more families engage in and support the COVID Vaccination Program. 


“We aim to enable better preventive measures against the severity of COVID-19, and also prepare by having a family plan in place in case we are faced with COVID-19 cases.


“In addition to BEL’s support, the team has also partnered with NPA Regional Council and NPA Family & Community Services. We would like to thank all of our partners involved, the unmerited support provided by each organisation and all the staff involved. We look forward to working closely together going forward in 2022.”


BEL General Manager, Chris Foord said when TCHHS had initially applied for funding via BEL’s Socio Support Policy, vaccination rates in the NPA were reported at a dire 38% for double doses.


“We’re happy that this figure has increased to 49%+ fully vaccinated in the communities Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service has visited, but there is still work to be done,” Mr Foord said.


“Having these community leaders who can speak the KKY language visit unvaccinated households and workplaces has been essential to protect individuals, families and our community as interstate borders open. These community champions engage in respectful conversations, sharing factual information to enable informed decision making.”


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