Mater health workers have been going door-to-door in Cherbourg to deliver vaccinations  (Photo: CASC)

November 10, 2021

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has warned that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are at increased risk due to dangerously lagging COVID-19 vaccination rates.

According to the group – which represents GPs across Australia – during the past three months there have been more than 7000 COVID cases among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia.

More than 700 people have been taken to hospital – including 80 in intensive care – and 16 people have died in NSW, Victoria and the ACT.

While 80.6 per cent of all Australians aged 16 and older are currently fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 89.4 per cent have had one dose, that figure sits at 54.5 per cent fully vaccinated and 66.2 per cent one dose for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The gap in vaccination coverage between the general population and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is far worse in certain areas, particularly those currently less affected by COVID-19 outbreaks, including Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

In NSW, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, vaccination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is above 80 per cent first dose and 70 per cent second dose. Whereas in Queensland, SA and WA it’s below 55 per cent first dose.

It is also worse among younger age groups; those under 40 years account for the majority of positive cases and are far less likely to have had their first dose than older people.

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