Ungooroo Aboriginal Corporation has launched a new COVID-19 vaccination hub in Singleton to ensure members of the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) communities are protected.
The hub is operating with the support of the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AHMRC), Singleton Community Health and the NSW health department to provide doses of both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines to members of the Upper Hunter community.
Ungooroo Aboriginal Corporation Chief Executive Officer, Taasha Layer, said the new hub will ensure greater access to vaccines for local ATSI communities who are more at risk of developing serious illness from COVID-19.
"We know that COVID-19 can cause serious health issues especially for our elders and those in our community who have existing medical conditions," said Ms Layer.
"Being able to provide vaccines will help protect those more vulnerable members of our community.
"That's why we wanted to get the hub up and running as soon as possible so we could get our mob vaccinated and avoid the large infection numbers we're seeing in Indigenous communities in other parts of the state, like Western New South Wales."
After initially receiving 120 Pfizer doses, Ms Layer said the clinic now expected to administer 420 vaccinations per fortnight being allocated greater supply.
"We're currently booked out until December but now, with the increase of vaccines, we can bring some of those patients forward and get them vaccinated, as soon as possible."
Ms Layer said the Singleton community had done amazing work under challenging circumstances to assist Ungooroo in opening the clinic.
"Our partnerships with the AHMRC and Singleton Community Health are what has made it so successful and Singleton Council have supported us with infrastructure, tables and chairs.
"It would have been a lot more difficult if Ungooroo had to do it all so we're very grateful for this support."
Vaccine hesitancy and misinformation on social media has impacted the efforts of vaccination campaigns worldwide and Ms Layer said the team at Ungooroo would continue to promote the benefits of vaccination for the community.
"We've really tried to enforce some positive messaging for community and the mob about the importance of getting the jab and just being open and saying that if anyone is concerned or a little bit frightened don't hesitate to give us a call," Ms Layer said.
"Speak to your GP and get the correct advice as to the process around vaccination."
As Singleton and the Upper Hunter emerge from stay-at-home orders this week Ms Layer called on the community to remain conscious of following health advice and to continue coming forward for vaccination.
The Ungooroo Vaccination Hub is located next to Ungooroo Medical centre on John Street in Singleton and eligible patients can call 6571 5111 to enquire about an appointment.