Yamatji woman encourages other Geraldton Aboriginal people to get their COVID jab

Phoebe PinGeraldton Guardian
Yamatji elder Emily Dalgedy gets her COVID vaccine from Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service nurse Lisa Collard
Camera IconYamatji elder Emily Dalgedy gets her COVID vaccine from Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service nurse Lisa Collard Credit: Picture: Phoebe Pin

A Yamatji woman was among the first to receive her COVID-19 jab when a Geraldton Aboriginal medical practice started its vaccination program last week.

Emily Dalgedy did not flinch when Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service nurse Lisa Collard administered the vaccine.

Admitting she was “a bit touchy at the start” about rolling up her sleeve, Ms Dalgedy said she was glad for the vaccination.

“It is only a little jab,” she said.

“I would encourage other Aboriginal people to have it done, too.”

After getting the jab, Ms Dalgedy was invited to enjoy some refreshments while she waited 15 minutes in the clinic to ensure she had no immediate adverse reactions.

Ms Dalgedy was eligible for the vaccine under Phase 1b of Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination program, which allows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults over 55 to receive the jab.

Practice manager Maggie Peel said GRAMS hosted several information sessions before opening the COVID-19 vaccine clinic to address the questions and concerns local Aboriginal people had about the jab.

“There are lots of myths that need to be busted, so we have to play a part in giving the correct information out and letting people make their own informed decisions about the vaccine,” she said.

GRAMS will receive 100 doses of the vaccine each week, with Ms Peel hoping Aboriginal people would continue to book vaccination appointments.

“I think we will just start slow and steady... hopefully the uptake will be good,” she said.

“We try to make this a culturally appropriate and safe place for the Aboriginal clients to come to GRAMS to get their vaccine.

“To be able to be vaccinated to keep themselves, family and community safe is very important.”

Ms Peel said transport was available to GRAMS clients who made vaccination appointments, with the service also available to Aboriginal people visiting Geraldton from across WA.

City Health Geraldton was the first local clinic to receive vaccine doses, with Panaceum Medical, Midwest Aero Medical Service, Victoria District Medical Centre and Geraldton Respiratory Clinic also taking COVID vaccination appointments.

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