31 March 2021

Multicultural communities express concerns about accessing vaccination information

| Dominic Giannini
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Woman receiving COVID-19 vaccination

Multicultural communities have expressed concern about missing vital COVID-19 vaccination information. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The Canberra Multicultural Community Forum (CMCF) has called on ACT Health to make information about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the ACT more accessible amid fears that some Canberrans may not know where to find it.

The community forum and Chinese community leaders have discussed how to provide reliable information to members of the community who may suffer from a language barrier, and they have asked ACT Health to hold more community forums to do the same.

CMCF chair Chin Wong said she is concerned some members of multicultural communities – particularly small and emerging communities – may not have access to, or be aware of, information posted on the ACT Health website or social media.

“We hope to run community information sessions to inform the community about the vaccination, safety and how they can prepare themselves mentally and physically before receiving the vaccination,” she said.

ACT Health said it is undertaking a public information campaign that will target harder to reach groups and include materials in simplified English as well as visual and audio messages to make it easier to understand for people for who English is not their first language.

The campaign will continue to ramp up as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues, and more people become eligible to receive the jab, said an ACT Government spokesperson.

“The ACT Government has attended and facilitated a number of meetings, information sessions and roundtables that focus on these groups individually and collectively,” said the spokesperson.

“We are engaging with trusted non-government community organisations and community leaders to tailor information as needed.

“This engagement aims to build trust and confidence in the ACT Government’s response to COVID-19, to understand any cultural issues and sensitives, and to gain feedback on fears, barriers and issues accessing COVID -19 health information.”

These community groups include language schools, community language radio presenters, cultural groups and associations, and religious organisations.

The ACT Government spokesperson also pointed to translated resources and information available on the Federal Government’s website.

Ms Wong said the CMCF will push information through its website, Facebook page, community leaders and other stakeholders, and encourage the community to share information with people who may not have seen it online.

She said ACT Health should build on this by utilising Zoom and Webex video conferencing, and face-to-face meetings, to update information regularly as opposed to relying on translated materials online.

Translated resources are available here.

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