Uncle Jack Charles’ plea for First Nations communities to get vaxxed


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Photo: SBS

Veteran performer and Aboriginal elder Uncle Jack Charles has joined the push to get First Nations communities vaccinated against COVID-19.

In Uncle Jack’s state of Victoria, vaccination rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are lagging behind the broader population.

Seventy-eight per cent of eligible Indigenous people in Victoria have had two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

This is less than the 89.3 per cent of the broader population.

About 85 per cent of Indigenous Victorians over 12 have gotten a single dose. However, this is lower than the 93.5 per cent of the rest of the state.

So Uncle Jack Charles has put his face to a new vaccination campaign. It was launched at the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) this week.

The campaign wants Indigenous vaccination rates above 90 per cent before Christmas.

Uncle Jack Charles received COVID-19 vaccine as soon as he could

Speaking at the VAHS, Uncle Jack said he was a client of the service. He explained the staff had saved him from serious illnesses in the past.

“As soon as it was available here at VAHS, I came in and booked an appointment to get my shot,” he explained.

He’s now double vaccinated. Uncle Jack said he’s also receiving a booster shot next month.

“It’s incumbent upon the likes of myself – a local elder, a leading black light of the community – to share the journey, to get that shot and tell everybody I’ve had the shot,” he said.

“Believe what I’m telling you. You need to get vaccinated.”

The Northern Territory is currently grappling with a coronavirus outbreak. Health authorities are concerned about spread of the virus among unvaccinated Indigenous people.

Uncle Jack Charles says in the campaign video, “At the end of the day, nothing will reduce the fatal effect of this virus until we’re vaccinated.

“It means we can take care of our most vulnerable elders and children.”

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