Australia’s largest vaccination roll-out is underway with priority groups already receiving Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine and Aboriginal health services set to undertake the massive task of inoculating 13,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults in Darwin.

From around April, the Danila Dilba Health Service hopes to vaccinate 1,000 Indigenous people per week, with the TGA approved AstraZeneca vaccine the most likely choice for Phase 1b recipients.

Danila Dilba Health Service’s Dr Andrew Webster

Head of clinical governance with the Danila Dilba Health Service in Darwin, Dr Andrew Webster told the ABC, he along with approximately 200 staff will need to administer at least 26,000 doses of the vaccine to provide the two doses necessary to achieve the highest possible levels of immunity.

“Ideally, we’d like to do it within about six months,” Dr Webster said.

“Because the sooner we do it, the sooner the community is protected, and the safer everyone can be in the Northern Territory.”

“But more likely till the end of the year.”  

In the lead-up to the roll-out Dr Webster and a team of Aboriginal health experts and respected leaders have been holding face-to-face consultations with people in the community to ease concerns, combat misinformation and outline the safety and importance of the vaccine.

“This is the most important thing that [we] as a health service, and probably the community, is going to do all year,” Dr Webster said.