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FabJab! Supporting LGBTQIA+ community and vulnerable young people to access the vaccine

19th October 2021

As part of Rainbow Vaccination Week (18-22 Oct), a group of youth, health and LGBTQIA+ organisations have come together to help some of Victoria’s most vulnerable young people and LGBTQIA+ community members access COVID vaccines. 

cohealth’s vaccination team will operate a FabJab pop-up clinic from Drummond Street Services from 19-22 October. To support the initiative, youth-focussed and LGBTQIA+  organisations are helping to encourage attendance and spread the word to the people they support.   

  • Vaccine hesitancy isn’t only driven by anti-vaxxers or extreme views – some marginalised communities may have fears and anxieties around vaccination because they are reluctant to engage with mainstream services 
  • People who are trans and gender diverse might have had previous traumatic experiences in medical or clinical settings, including dead naming and misgendering 
  • People from the LGBTQIA+ community may also have questions about how the vaccine interacts with certain medications or hormones 

The partner organisations backing the pop-up clinic are Drummond Street Services, cohealth, Youth Support + Advocacy Service (YSAS), Transgender Victoria, Q Switchboard and Odyssey House Victoria. 

The clinic is set-up to be a safe, warm and welcoming environment for trans and gender diverse people, people living in public housing, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people with substance use issues, people living with disability and people experiencing homelessness. 

The Drummond St FabJab pop-up clinic is a welcoming space for LGBTQIA+ community every day this week. On Thursday 21 and Friday 22, the pop-up vaccine clinic will have a special focus on the LGBTQIA+ clients, but people are welcome every day 

Media enquiries: Lanie Harris, cohealth, 0418 552 377 

  • Pop-up Address: 100 Drummond Street, Carlton

  • Pop-up period: Tues 19 Oct – Fri 22 Oct, 10.30am – 4.30pm (On Thurs & Fri there will be a special focus on LGBTQIA+ communities as part of Rainbow Vaccinations)  

 

Quote attributable to Nicole Bartholomeusz, Chief Executive, cohealth (she/her) 

“People who have experienced discrimination might feel the need to hide their sexual identity and be fearful of accessing vaccination through large vaccination centres.  We want to warmly welcome people into this vaccination service.  cohealth is committed to bringing the vaccine into spaces which are familiar and comfortable,” said Nicole Bartholomeusz, Chief Executive, cohealth 

Quote attributable to Karen Field, CEO, Drummond Street Services (she/her)  

“It is important to recognise that not everyone who is vaccine hesitant is anti-vax. For many, such as those who have fled war and persecution, have suffered in refugee camps or who have had negative government or health experiences, the fear of government-led vaccination clinics is real.  We also know that sustained trauma can lead to a sense of mistrust.

“Also, for many, getting the vax has not always been easy due to access, judgement from peers or family members or negative or discriminatory health experiences, such as trans and non-binary folk getting misgendered or dead-named. 

“This is why – along with cohealth and our community partners – we are offering a known, community space, where both our clients and those in our communities can get vaccinated with supportive staff they know and trust in an environment they feel safer.” 

Quote attributable to Mama Alto, CEO Transgender Victoria (she/her) 

“Vaccine hesitancy isn’t only driven by anti-vaxxers or extreme views – we also have many marginalised communities with valid fears and anxieties around coming forward to get vaccinated.  

That might have previous traumatic experiences in medical or clinical settings, specific questions around how vaccines might interact with their routine health care, difficulties with documentation, or simply needing familiarity with the site or service where they’ll receive the jab.  

This is where community centres and pop-up vaccine hubs like Drummond Street Services are important because it’s meeting communities where we’re at and providing accessible, inclusive, and trusted environments.”  

Quote attributable to Andrew Bruun, CEO YSAS (he/him) 

“Young people want to get vaccinated, but they are fearful of authority and the stigma that they might face in accessing a state-run vaccination centre. YSAS workers draw on trusted relationships with young people to guide them through the process of getting their vaccine, just like a parent would. 

If a young person is in our care, we have a responsibility to provide access to safe and effective settings where they can get vaccinated. This cohealth vaccine partnership pop-up at Drummond Street Services will ensure that marginalised young people with substance use issues aren’t left behind in Victoria’s vaccine rollout.”  

 

— Ends — 

 

About Drummond Street Services: 

Serving Victorian families and individuals since 1887, Drummond street services supports families and individuals, promotes connected and inclusive communities and drives innovation and research into family support interventions. 

About cohealth: 

cohealth is one of Australia’s largest not-for-profit community health organisation that provides universal access to services as well as targeted programs and assertive models to address the health disparities experienced by disadvantaged groups. cohealth offers a broad range of high quality, integrated health and support services, including medical, oral, pharmacy, mental health and drug and alcohol services. 

About Transgender Victoria: 

GV is Victoria’s leading body for trans and gender diverse advocacy and training. We work to achieve justice, equity and inclusive service provision for trans and gender diverse people, their partners, families and friends. 

About YSAS: 

The Youth Support + Advocacy Service (YSAS) is Australia’s largest, youth-specific community service organisation. Operating since 1998 as Victoria’s flagship Youth Alcohol and Other Drug service, YSAS employs over 370 skilled staff over 19 sites in metropolitan and regional Victoria. While the prime focus of YSAS remains on effective Youth AOD Treatment and sector leadership, the organisation also has extensive experience in providing young people and families with services that support improved mental health and meaningful community participation.  

more information: David Jeffery 0417 053 032 djeffery@ysas.org.au 

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