Earlier this month, JRS Australia began hosting vaccination clinics for refugee and asylum-seeking communities in Western Sydney, as part of Western Sydney Local Health District’s outreach program to reach people in situations of vulnerability.
More than 150 individuals have attended clinics, held in the St Patrick’s Cathedral Hall, Catholic Diocese of Parramatta, in the last month.
The outreach clinics form part of a much broader commitment from the NSW Government and the Federal Government to ensure vaccine equity for everyone in Australia, an approach that JRS has been calling on all Governments worldwide to adopt.
JRS Australia’s Assistant Director Maeve Brown said “JRS Australia is delighted to work with NSW Health to ensure that people seeking asylum and refugees in vulnerable situations are able to access COVID-19 vaccinations in a safe and familiar environment.
Not only does everyone in the community have the right to be vaccinated, it is also an obvious public health imperative at the moment. JRS Australia will continue to work closely with health authorities to support the vaccine roll-out in Western Sydney.”
The urgency of the vaccination outreach clinics is heightened by the current surge in COVID19 cases across Western and South Western Sydney, where the majority of people seeking asylum and refugees in NSW live.
Those who are elderly, and have co-morbidities are at particular risk of contracting a more severe and life-threatening case of the virus, although as warned by the authorities, COVID19 is a virus which does not discriminate, and has caused hospitalisation and deaths amongst the young and people without underlying health conditions.
The vaccination clinics will continue in August and September.