Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor Service has been integral to the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic – vaccinating more than 7 ,000 people in remote communities.
With funding from the Commonwealth government, the Flying Doctors have been able to assist State and Territory governments, Aboriginal Medical Services, and First Nations communities in running a community-led vaccination program to isolated and remote communities.
Of the 5,122 + vaccinations delivered to remote communities across Australia about 45% of those have reached First Nation people.
Royal Flying Doctor Service federation executive director Frank Quinlan said because of the Flying Doctors strong footprint into many remote communities they were well-placed to provide essential services when the COVID crisis broke.
“Once vaccines became available, again looking back at our history we recognised that either on our own, or in partnership with other community-based organisations we were likely to have a role to play in rolling-out the vaccines nationally.”
Mr Quinlan said the air medical service expects to vaccinate some 50,000 remote Australians by the end of the year.
“Over the course of the last month or so that programs now started, we’ve delivered more than 7,000 jabs to folks in remote locations, we’ve also provided support to other organisations working in those places with their Aboriginal Controlled Health Organisations, state-based health services, and others.”
“We have plans now approved to deliver some 500 vaccine clinics into communities across remote parts of Australia, and that should reach something like 50,000 doses before the end of the year.”