Labor demands Indigenous vaccine numbers as fears grow over western NSW Delta outbreak

As the Delta outbreak in western ニューサウスウェールズ州 continues to grow in vulnerable Aboriginal communities of Dubbo and Walgett, Labor is demanding the federal government publish daily data on Indigenous vaccination rates and “come clean” about exactly where those doses are going.

“The government needs to be honest about the failure of the vaccine rollout for First Nations Australians,” Labor’s health spokesman, Mark Butler, and Indigenous affairs spokeswoman, Linda Burney, said in a joint statement.

“The lockdown of Walgett shire has exposed the low vaccination rates among First Nations people, in particular in regional and remote communities.

“The prime minister said the vaccine rollout in First Nations communities would be a priority. They were in phase 1b of the rollout – a group that was supposed to be fully vaccinated by winter.”

A spokesperson for the federal health department said states and territories can “formally request their LGA data from the commonwealth and it will be provided to them」.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander vaccination rates were shared with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group on Covid-19, which was co-chaired by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled 健康 Organisation (Naccho), 彼らは言った.

しかしながら, Naccho had already called for much greater transparency about vaccine data.

The health department said data on the Covid-19 vaccine rollout was published according to the format agreed at national cabinet.

But it said that as of Friday just 28% of all eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 16 and over had had one dose of vaccine, and just 14.6% were fully vaccinated.

NSW Health could not confirm how many of the new cases were Aboriginal people, citing privacy issues, but the chief executive of Western NSW local health district, Scott McLachlan, has said “the majority” of those already reported were Aboriginal people, including children.

The NSW Delta outbreak had already heavily affected Aboriginal people. Statewide, 少なくとも 66 of the current cases were Aboriginal people, そして 80% of them were under 40.

未満 20% of the Aboriginal population aged 16 and over in western NSW had received one dose of any vaccine, and only 8% were fully vaccinated when the outbreak began.

A pop-up vaccination clinic had been operating in Walgett all weekend offering Pfizer vaccines to anyone aged over 16. But anger was mounting at the extremely low levels of vaccination in the region.

Detailed vaccination details were kept by the federal health department but, despite repeated requests, it was yet to provide information about Aboriginal vaccination rates by location or age group.

The Western NSW local health district said there were 17 new cases recorded in Dubbo and one new case in Walgett to 9am Saturday, and that number was expected to rise.

“With questions about the capacity of local health facilities to meet any potential outbreak – this is a tragedy waiting to happen,” Butler and Burney said.

“This data will ensure supplies and resources can be deployed where they are needed, and that no community is left out.”

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