The Eurobodalla Shire's Indigenous vaccination rates are on track to reach the statewide 80 per cent double dose target.
Indigenous vaccination rates were slow off the mark due to the fast-paced rollout and changing information causing hesitancy within the community, says Southern NSW Local Health District's director of Aboriginal Health, Jackie Jackson.
However, things have taken a turn for the better.
As of September 30, the first-dose vaccination rate of the Indigenous population was 74 per cent, with 40 per cent fully vaccinated.
Mrs Jackson said the Indigenous community made up 6.8 per cent of the shire's population. This week, the shire hit a 94.5 per cent first dose vaccination rate and 66.2 per cent second dose.
Mrs Jackson said the Indigenous community needed reassurance during the initial vaccine rollout.
"They became overwhelmed and there wasn't a lot of time for explanation," she said.
Mrs Jackson said 50 per cent of the population was aged under 25 and vaccinations hit a "lull".
"Initially, AstraZeneca wasn't recommended for young people and they had to wait for Pfizer," Mrs Jackson said.
She said there was a cohort between 25 to 50-years-old who weren't eligible to be vaccinated under the early stages of the rollout.
Mrs Jackson said social media "sensationalised" a lot of information on vaccines that also sparked hesitancy.
"Some community members haven't got a clear understanding of health literacy," she said.
Mrs Jackson urged the community to get their facts from reliable sources.
Now, vaccination rates are back on track and the Indigenous community is expected to reach the state-wide 80 per cent double dose target by the end of October.
Health services continue to coordinate pop-up Pfizer clinics with local medical practices, making it as accessible as possible for the Indigenous community.
Mrs Jackson said vaccination supplies had to be well coordinated. She was pleased with how the health system was evolving to meet the administrative demands.
"For those who are high-risk, we have employed mobile vaccinations and COVID testing in homes," she said.
NSW prepares to reopen in the coming weeks. There are currently 33 active COVID-19 cases in the Eurobodalla shire with numbers expected to spike.
On Monday, October 4 NSW Health reported three new cases were recorded in Beauty Point in the Bega Valley, linked to known cases in the Eurobodalla shire.
Mrs Jackson offered limited comment on the Batemans Bay cluster. She understood the first case linked to the cluster was someone who travelled to the shire while asymptomatic.
She said "a very small" percentage of active cases were Indigenous community members.
"They have all bunkered down with virtual care coordination and are monitored from their home to prevent the need for hospitalisation," Mrs Jackson said.
"The community and health services did their very best to contain it (the outbreak).
"The Aboriginal community has been working hard to stay safe, get vaccinated, and do the right thing.
"Everybody has COVID fatigue and the community just wants some form of normality; to achieve that, is to comply with the vaccines and be a part of the solution."
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