#fabvac campaign highlights need for ongoing COVID vaccine protection for Aboriginal community

27 April 2022

With doctors warning that the combination of COVID-19 and flu could make you really sick, a digital campaign that highlights how vaccines make a difference, even for people who've had COVID, is being launched this week by COORDINARE in partnership with local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs).

“The #fabvac winter campaign encourages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members to check in with their GP or AMS before winter about boosters, vaccines for kids and the flu shot," said Nathan Deaves, COORDINARE's Aboriginal Health Service Development & Performance Manager.

"We understand that there is some confusion and fatigue about COVID messages. This campaign highlights how vaccines make a difference, even for people who've had COVID. The videos are made by local young Aboriginal people who recently yarned with local Aboriginal community members and health workers about their experiences of COVID and attitudes to vaccines," said Mr Deaves.

Brittney, a health worker at Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Service said “I used to work in emergency and look after patients who were COVID positive. There was a massive difference between people who were vaccinated and people who were unvaccinated. Our unvaccinated patients were a lot sicker than our vaccinated patients.”

One of the videos features Uncle Ken, a community member from Bermagui who said "Two of our kids brought the virus home to our place and all 13 of us ended up catching it.

“It is just as well we had the double jab in the first place, only the two out of the 13 went to hospital but just overnight and they came back home. It was scary at the time, we didn’t know if they were going to come back or not. We all said to ourselves we’ve got to get the jab whether we like it or not.

“We’re all going to get COVID but we won’t get it as bad so that’s what happened – no one got it as bad,” said Uncle Ken.

Another video interviews Jenny from Nowra who said "I never got COVID but the three little ones did and they were really sick and they’re not vaccinated.

“They had high temperatures and were really sick in the stomach and were sick for a full week. I don’t want them that sick ever again, especially the three of them at the same time - it was hard,” she said.

“They’ll be getting vaccinated as soon as I can get them in there. I think it is better to get it done to stop the spread and not get it as bad,” said Jenny.

COORDINARE's Nathan Deaves said "Our key message through the #Fabvac winter campaign is you need to keep up to date with your COVID vaccines because your immunity to current and future variants of COVID does reduce over time. Respiratory illnesses spread more in winter because we all spend more time indoors, so getting the flu shot is also important.

"Many of our people suffer from poor health outcomes and COVID-19 can cause severe medical complications. COVID vaccines provide additional protection that could save someone's life,” he said.

“Getting a flu vaccine at the same time is recommended and our people can get flu vaccines for free, including kids aged six months and older. Kids need to be five years old to get a COVID vaccine," said Mr Deaves.

According to the latest health advice, people who have had COVID should get their next dose of a COVID vaccine as soon as they feel well again, usually within four to six weeks. The protection people gain from having COVID-19 varies from person to person and experts don’t yet know how long any natural immunity might last.

The #fabvac videos will be shared across a range of social media channels including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, making them simple for everyone to share as we work together to get this important message out to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Check out the videos below and click the share button to share!

Jenny's story #FabVac


Vivienne's story #FabVac


Uncle Ken's story #FabVac


Let's keep our mob safe #FabVac


Keep your mob safe #FabVac

Aboriginal health, Community, Illawarra Shoalhaven, Immunisation, Media release, Prevention initiatives, Southern NSW, Vulnerable groups