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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 November 2021) . . Page.. 3241 ..

Our vaccination program continues to be an essential part of the COVID-19 response. I would also like to acknowledge the significant contribution of Canberra’s general practitioners and pharmacists in achieving these high vaccination rates. (Time expired.)

MS ORR: Minister, given it is critical that every Canberran is offered the chance to receive a vaccination—to ensure that even the most vulnerable in our community are protected—what steps has the ACT government taken to ensure vulnerable Canberrans are given every opportunity to get vaccinated?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Orr for the supplementary. The government has been absolutely determined to ensure that our most vulnerable and hard-to-reach communities are offered every opportunity to access the COVID-19 vaccine. With more than 95 per cent of the eligible Canberra community now fully vaccinated, the ACT government continues to work with the community sector to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to people who have difficulty accessing mainstream health services in spaces that are appropriate for them.

Under the equity to access program, the ACT government uses play space and detailed vaccination data to provide targeted in-reach and mobile vaccination clinics to areas of the community that are under-represented in vaccination uptake, ensuring we take the program to where it is needed most. These clinics have reached members of our cultural and linguistically diverse community, people living with disability and their families and carers, LGBTIQ+ community members and people living in insecure accommodation. Under the program, more than 3,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered to people living in high-risk areas of the community.

Just this week, on Monday, the team organised a pop-up at Chisholm Community Centre and was able to provide five first dose COVID-19 vaccinations and three second doses to the community. These are pretty small numbers, but one of these doses was to a young member of our community who remarked to our staff that they had been very hesitant to receive a vaccination and had been putting it off. But the ability to walk to the clinic, chat and learn about the vaccination process with staff and the considered space meant that this individual felt safe and ready to receive a dose of vaccine. This is slow and resource-intensive work, but it is vital and it reflects the expectations of our community that Canberra is equitable, fair and supports those who are most in need.

Through our ongoing commitment and the tireless work of our fantastic health professionals, our community can be confident that the COVID-19 vaccine is and remains accessible to every eligible Canberran.

DR PATERSON: A supplementary.


DR PATERSON: Minister, can you update members on the progress of protecting vulnerable groups, including our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and people living with a disability?

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