fbpx
Saturday, January 23, 2021

Immunising Adelaide’s Indian community

Multicultural Communities Australia, a not-for-profit organisation, stepped up to provide necessary flu vaccines during the pandemic.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

When the pandemic hit, many people in the community needed support. Those in self-quarantine needed groceries, international students needed food and financial assistance, and people in high-risk groups needed counselling and practical tips to cope.

But one large group fell through the cracks – those who had not gotten the flu vaccine. Across Australia, everyone was being urged to get the vaccine to reduce the risk of catching the seasonal flu or the coronavirus, or sometimes even both. And yet, many in the Indian and other multicultural communities didn’t know about it or were too worried to go get it.

- Advertisement -

“We discovered that 80 per cent of our community had not had a flu vaccine in the past. We realised that we had to provide information, educate them on the vaccine, and make the vaccination more accessible,” explained Deepak Bhardwaj, CEO of Multicultural Communities Australia, a not-for-profit organisation that works with migrant communities.

After spending a couple of months setting up the project, Adelaide’s MCA launched a community project called “Healthy Communities” on 3 June 2020. Till the end of the month, they provided free flu vaccinations for vulnerable and needy community members, administered by trained pharmacists from local Cumberland Park chemist TerryWhite Chemmart.

Anyone aged 10 years and older were eligible, but MCA particularly kept in mind those in the community who may not take the vaccination due to financial constraints and may not have Medicare Cards. This included new migrants, international students, visiting parents, and tourist visa holders.

“We would literally go around to parks and other public places. We would ask whoever we saw there, particularly older people, if they had gotten the flu vaccine. We would also tell them the importance of getting vaccinated,” Bharadwaj told Indian Link.

The project flyer was translated into 15 different languages including English, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Farsi, Mandarin, Nepalese, Gujarati, Malay, Arabic, Filipino, Greek, Italian, Bangla and Pashtun, for better reach.

To improve the scope of the “Healthy Communities” project, MCA’s volunteers also went to places of worship like mosques, gurudwaras, and temples. They made verbal announcements, talked to individuals, and put up posters. At universities, many international students approached them to ask if they were eligible, which they were.  

More than 500 people were vaccinated in just three weeks. Because of the project’s success, MCA even extended it to regional and rural areas of South Australia and Victoria. In Port Augusta and Whyalla, they worked with Aussie Discount Chemist at Quorn. In Port Pirie, they liaised with Risdon Pharmacy. In Merbein, they worked with Keens Pharmacy which covers the regional areas around Mildura in Victoria.

By the end of June, the “Healthy Communities” project had reached its target. Because of its importance and success, the pharmacists also agreed to provide discounted vaccinations to people referred by MCA even after the project ended.

Deepak Bhardwaj of MCA is delighted that the successful project provided direct support and empowered multicultural communities in South Australia. In the future, he hopes MCA can work with GPs to provide pro-bono work for vulnerable people not on Medicare. Future plans include similar projects in Darwin and Melbourne.

Here’s to immunising, educating, and empowering multicultural communities across Australia!

READ ALSO: Bushfire relief: How Adelaide’s Indian community chipped in

- Advertisement -
Avatar
Vinaya Rai
Vinaya Rai is a counsellor by profession with interests in writing, radio, emcee'ing, organising and attending events.

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Podcasts

Ep8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s life

0
To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

0
  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic...

Ep 6: The Indian LGBTQ+ community in 2020

0
  It’s been two years since the world’s largest democracy repealed the draconian Section 377 which used to allow discrimination against homosexual people. Only this...

Latest News

lilly singh

WATCH: Lilly Singh as Sima Taparia in “Indian Matchbreaking”

0
  Whether we liked it or not, most of us gave into the Sima Taparia craze during lockdown. Within days, we'd all binged on Netflix's...
karl rock

From New Zealand to New Delhi: Meet YouTube’s Karl Rock

0
  When Karl Rock picks up the phone (with a cheerful ‘Namaste!’ no less), his New Zealand accent is apparent. That is, until he bursts...
Buddhist Kung Fu nuns kicking hard at centuries-old taboos

India’s Buddhist Kung Fu nuns

0
  They are the Buddhist Kung Fu nuns of Drukpa lineage, known globally for trekking across the Himalayas to pick up trash, paddling through mountain...
jhansi strawberries

Strawberries to write a new chapter of development in Jhansi

0
  Jhansi which is well-known as the land of valour is all set to write a new chapter and strawberry cultivation would play a pivotal...

WATCH: Aussies try to guess Indian slang

0
  Many new migrants have had to quickly learn the local lingo upon arriving in Australia, picking up the ie's and the o's as part...