As the Delta outbreak in Aboriginal communities of Dubbo and Walgett in Western New South Wales (NSW) continues to propagate, the Australian opposition is demanding the federal government publish daily data on Indigenous vaccination rates.
“The government needs to be honest about the failure of the vaccine rollout for First Nations Australians,” Labor’s health spokesman, Mark Butler, and Indigenous affairs spokeswoman, Linda Burney, said in a joint statement.
“The lockdown of Walgett shire has exposed the low vaccination rates among First Nations people, in particular in regional and remote communities.
“The prime minister said the vaccine rollout in First Nations communities would be a priority. They were in phase 1b of the rollout – a group that was supposed to be fully vaccinated by winter.”
A spokesperson for the federal health department said states and territories can “formally request their LGA data from the commonwealth and it will be provided to them”. Reported The Guardian.
14 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 16 and over have been fully vaccinated according to the Australian Department of Health.
In western NSW, that number is understood to be around 8 per cent.
“With questions about the capacity of local health facilities to meet any potential outbreak – this is a tragedy waiting to happen,” Butler and Burney said.
“This data will ensure supplies and resources can be deployed where they are needed, and that no community is left out.”