As part of the vaccine rollout to people living in high-risk accommodation, cohealth has been arranging for group vaccinations of residents from cohealth’s Older Persons High Rise (OPHR) program.
On Thursday, 18 older people from the OPHR program were transported to West Melbourne vaccination clinic by taxi to get the COVID-19 vaccine, with a great deal of excitement in the air.
About half of the residents who were taken to West Melbourne on Thursday were people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds with limited English, so a cohealth interpreter was with them to make sure they understood the vaccine process and could answer the required questions.
Making vaccine appointments for existing clients, and arranging their transport to the clinic are just some of the ways that cohealth is engaging with the community to make sure those people who most need the vaccine are able to get it. For people who don’t speak English as a first language or people with low literacy, accessing the vaccine can be more difficult, so direct, targeted engagement is essential.
Among the residents who attended the West Melbourne clinic on Thursday were:
Originally from Somalia, Haji has been a resident of public housing in Footscray for 1 ½ years. He was excited to get the call from his social worker recently to tell him he was eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. His worker helped him by making an appointment, and Haji and his neighbours travelled to cohealth’s West Melbourne clinic in a maxi cab.
“Today I’m here to get the injection for coronavirus. I want to get the vaccine so that I can travel to Africa when the borders open. I feel good today, not worried. Some people I talk to say they are scared about the vaccine, but not me. I explain how the vaccine works, and that it’s good. I think after today my friends and family will ask about the injection. I want to go home and tell my family that I got the vaccine and say, “it’s good, no problem!”
It’s very important that the Somali community has interpreters to explain to them about the vaccine. I’m the first in my family to get the vaccine. Once I’m finished and they see I’m good, maybe they’ll get it too.”
Haji is currently fasting for Ramadan, but he knows that it is permitted under Islam to get the COVID-19 vaccination. He says he plans to rest for the afternoon before breaking his fast with his family at 5.50pm. There’s a lot to celebrate today!
Jeff is a resident of Gordon Street Older Persons High Rise Program. He tells us he used to be a mean rock-and-roll dancer, but now being close to 90, he doesn’t get on the dance floor anymore.
Jeff has Parkinson’s and has no family to support him, so he has been relying on cohealth staff to help him access the latest information about COVID-19.
“I heard last week that the cohealth team was going to bring people to the vaccination clinic. So I thought, why not come? At my age, COVID will knock you off for sure. If I don’t get it (the vaccine), and I get COVID, I’m in trouble, aren’t I?”
I got the information about the vaccine from my doctor, and also from TV. I would say to others who are thinking about getting the vaccine, ‘Get it, then you’re covered’. It wasn’t painful. I’m not scared of needles.”
cohealth is currently providing vaccinations for the priority groups in Phase 1a and Phase 1b of the vaccine rollout. For more information go to COVID-19 vaccine.