Health Minister visits Mossman Gorge in vaccination drive for First Nations communities


Jereme Lane


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Queensland Health Minister Yvette D'Ath & State Member for Cook, Cynthia Lui, addressed media yesterday. Image: Jereme Lane
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Queensland Health Minister, Yvette D’Ath and Member for Cook, Cynthia Lui paid a visit to the Mossman Gorge pop-up vaccination hub yesterday in a push to increase vaccination rates in our First Nations communities.

Vaccinations rates in communities all over the cape is around 30 percent lower than Cairns and the rest of the Far North and Minister D’ath yesterday said that she thinks the message is starting to get through.

“The popup vaccination team is doing an amazing job. When they started today, the community was around 55 percent vaccinated first dose and when they finish today they’re hoping to be above 70 percent or more, so that is incredible.”

The Minister also outlined some of the ways in which Queensland Health is going above and beyond to make sure that the message gets through.

“You’ve heard about knocking on doors to convince people to come out and get jabbed, here in Mossman Gorge they’re not just knocking on the door, they’re actually jabbing at the door. They’re taking the vaccine to people’s front doors and actually vaccinating the family there and then,” Ms D’Ath said.

“It's wonderful that this community understands the importance of coming out and getting vaccinated and that there's no time to waste. They have to come out and get it now.”

After an eventful morning, where she was verbally attacked on the Cairns Esplanade by an anti-vaxxer, the Minister outlined how important it is to get the correct message through.

“What we saw this morning is concerning because it's that kind of misinformation that makes people hesitant about getting the vaccine. Can I say this: the vaccine is safe and it saves lives and we especially need our First Nations people coming out and getting vaccinated before this fire starts spreading through our communities.”

The Health Minister’s sentiments were echoed by Member for Cook, Cynthia Lui, who outlined what a big effort it takes from everyone to reach the goal.

“It comes down to a coordinated approach right across the board, we’ve got key agencies working together to make it happen. We’ve also got community, as we’ve seen today, coming on board to make sure that every single individual is getting vaccinated. That’s what we want to see, we need to keep it going, we need to keep that momentum going.

Pop-Up Clinic a success

This morning the Health Minister confirmed that yesterday's vaccination drive was a resounding success.

“I have the numbers hot off the press this morning, they did 40 vaccinations in Mossman Gorge yesterday which is fantastic, and the majority of those were first doses as well,” Ms D’Ath told Newsport.

According to the Minister, the number of adults residing in Mossman Gorge fluctuates between 75 and 100 so to get 40 doses done in one day in the community was a fantastic result.

“We did 35 jabs at the Mossman Hospital as well, so all up we did 75 vaccinations yesterday which is fantastic but we need those numbers to keep climbing.”

Ms D’Ath told Newsport that she is very concerned about the First Nations communities once the border opens on 17 December.

“It’s really important that we get our regional and remote communities vaccination rates up very high because those are the communities where the virus will spread very quickly through unvaccinated people and will put a lot of pressure on your local hospital. We’re concerned about Mossman Hospital and the staff having to manage a lot of positive patients and our First Nations people.”

While yesterday’s pop-up clinic was only setup temporarily, Queensland Health is reminding Douglas Shire residents that the Mossman Hospital vaccination clinic is open every day. No appointments are required.


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