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Close the Gap 2021

District working further to protect our Mob from COVID-19.

Woman getting a vaccination from a nurse
SydneyConnect Image: Dee McNamara getting her vaccination

Kalkadoon / Kuku Yalanji woman Dee McNamara was among the first of Sydney Local Health District’s frontline healthcare workers to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

“It’s given me layer of protection against the virus,” she said, after getting the jab at the District’s COVID-19 Vaccination Centre.

As an Aboriginal Immunisation Liaison Health Worker she’s focused on helping to keep the District’s Mob healthy.

The District has one of the biggest urban Aboriginal populations in NSW.

And, today the District is marking National Close the Gap Day – an advocacy campaign that aims to achieve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality.

This year’s theme is “Leadership and Legacy through crises: keeping our mob safe.”

“We’ve worked with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to protect them from COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Now, it’s important to encourage our Mob – our families, our elders, our community – to take the next step and get a vaccination when it’s their turn,” Dee said.

The Federal Government has identified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples over the age of 55 as a priority group for COVID-19 vaccinations after frontline healthcare workers and quarantine staff.

Many Aboriginal people have co-morbidities which put them at a higher risk of being diagnosed with COVID-19 than the rest of the population.

“The vaccine is safe and effective. And, while you can choose if you want to get vaccinated, getting the jab is one way we can protect ourselves, our family and our community from a serious illness.

“We need to encourage our non-Aboriginal brothers and sisters to be vaccinated too.  Our communities will be healthier by having as many people vaccinated as possible. It’s vital for everyone’s wellbeing,” Dee said.

The District is exploring the best ways to rollout the COVID-19 vaccine guided by the Aboriginal Health, Population Health and Public Health units in collaboration with the Aboriginal Medical Service Redfern and local Aboriginal communities.

The District partnered with AMS Redfern to set up a COVID-19 clinic at Redfern Health Centre when the outbreak first began.

And, the District has contributed to the development of culturally-appropriate resources to communicate key health messages about COVID-19 to Aboriginal communities.

The Close the Gap campaign aims to achieve equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in health and life expectancy within a generation.

“The District’s striving to deliver accessible, culturally-appropriate, holistic health services for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We’re working towards a healthier future,” Dr Teresa Anderson, the District’s Chief Executive, said.

Our vision is to have the healthiest Aboriginal community in Australia in the District.

To view highlights of the District's Close the Gap ceremony, please click here.