As COVID-19 spread among the local members of the Aboriginal community in Orange, Newcrest employees identified that the Orange Aboriginal Medical Service (OAMS) needed support to overcome low vaccination rates and high levels of hesitancy toward the vaccine within the community.
In response, the OAMS set a target of vaccinating most of its clients and staff members by the end of November 2021 to ensure the highest possible protection against COVID-19 in the local Aboriginal community.
The approach included the establishment of an additional community vaccination hub to cater for the demand. In doing so, it was acknowledged that the local doctors were stretched in response to the high COVID-19 case numbers, which impacted the delivery of ongoing basic medical services unrelated to the pandemic.
The Community Support Fund provided funding to staff the OAMS vaccination hub at Marang Gunya with a locum doctor to address vaccine hesitancy of their clientele and administer the vaccinations. In addition to the work performed at the hub, once the number of infected clients dropped after the initial spike, the team doorknocked in the surrounding community to continue awareness-raising on the benefits of the vaccination.
With the support of Newcrest, 4328 doses of the vaccination were administered, with 1,940 clients fully vaccinated at the conclusion of the project.