Supporting vulnerable populations
Page last updated at 12pm 27 June2022
- Pathways for vaccinating greater Brisbane’s vulnerable people
- Free interpreting services
- People without a Medicare card
- People experiencing homelessness
- First Nations people
- Disability, support worker and carers
- Support for autistic people through the COVID-19 pandemic
- Vaccinations for homebound people
Certain groups of people in Brisbane south are at increased risk of severe disease from COVID-19, or experience greater barriers to access to reliable information and support in relation to health care. Our response to COVID-19 includes particular attention to providing additional support to ensure all people are well informed and have the access and support they need to understand, get vaccinated, and received appropriate care and advice in relation to COVID-19.
Pathways for vaccinating greater Brisbane’s vulnerable people
Brisbane South PHN and Brisbane North PHN and are working together to improve access to the COVID-19 vaccine for people who would benefit from additional support. Information on support available for vulnerable people is available as a . Some highlights of the program so far are summarized in this progress update.
COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone in Australia, even if a person is not an Australian citizen or permanent resident. This includes people without a Medicare card, overseas visitors, international students, migrant workers and asylum seekers.
Information and resources are available to support our multicultural communities.
- The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care have developed a variety of translated resources in over 60 languages:
- Queensland Department of Health has Queensland-specific COVID-19 translated and plain English resources.
Free RAT test expansion in Queensland
From August 2022, Queensland Health has expanded the eligibility for access to free Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) kits for the following population groups:
- Commonwealth Concession care holders
- people at risk of or experiencing homelessness, including people escaping domestic and family violence
- people seeking asylum in Queensland
- people recently arrived from Ukraine
- people working in Queensland as part of the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility Scheme.
For more information and to find your nearest Queensland Health RAT distribution locations click here.
Free interpreting services
Working with qualified interpreters is essential to ensuring health care providers are able to communicate effectively with their patients and are protected from professional risk. Interpreters are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Visit our Multicultural Health page for more information and tips on engaging an interpreter for patients.
People without a Medicare card
COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone in Australia, regardless of Medicare or visa status. This includes:
- asylum seekers
- temporary protection visa holders
- people on bridging visas
- overseas visitors
- international students
- migrant workers
- people who are not Australian citizens
- people who are not permanent residents
- people who are living in Australia on a visa
- those whose visas have been cancelled or who have overstayed their visas
- those who are eligible for, but do not have a Medicare card (for example, some people experiencing homelessness).
People experiencing homelessness
Micah Projects have been commissioned to work alongside Brisbane South and Brisbane North PHNs to support people experiencing homelessness in Brisbane. Vaccinations are offered via outreach for people experiencing homelessness, including those living on the streets, in emergency accommodation, boarding houses or between shelters. Participants were engaged across a range of venues and support networks to increase access to vaccination and address barriers such as vaccine hesitancy, transport issues, and adverse response to hospitals or clinics.
Contact Micah Projects on 07 3036 4444 to request an outreach visit.
First Nations people
Everybody is at risk of getting COVID-19. For most people, they will only develop mild illness and recover easily, but others may develop severe sickness that affects the lungs. People with weaker immune systems are more likely to get seriously ill. This puts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders and people with chronic health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease) at increased risk. Health system bodies across the state are working together to ensure that First Nations Queenslanders have access to current, culturally appropriate and localised information.
Information and resources are available to support First Nations people.
- Department of Health common questions about the COVID-19 vaccines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
- Information from your local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services
- Queensland Health COVID-19 resources. New resources continue to be added as they are developed.
- Department of Health Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and COVID-19 website and COVID-19 information.
- Department of Health COVID-19 vaccines communication materials, including social media content, posters and videos, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations.
COVID-19 care for First Nations peoples in south-east Queensland
Mob Link is an initiative of the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health, supporting First Nations peoples living in south-east Queensland, by linking them with health and social services. The Mob Link app provides a wide range of information and resources designed to support during times of hardship, including:
- where to get vaccinated
- how to book a community yarn about COVID-19
- who to contact for questions about COVID-19 and the vaccine
- connections to services and support for those affected by COVID-19.
Yarning about COVID-19 video series
Brisbane South PHN in collaboration with Metro South Health, Yulu-Burri-Ba Aboriginal Corporation for Community Health and ATSICHS Brisbane have developed a series of videos discussing the answers to questions frequently raised by First Nations communities.
Discussions with Dr Claudia Collins, Yulu-Burri-Ba Aboriginal Corporation for Community Health
Discussion with Dr Jonathan Leitch, ATSICHS Brisbane
Disability, support workers and carers
Information and resources are available to support people with disability, support workers and carers.
- Queensland Health information and resources to support people with disability, support workers and carers.
- Department of Health information about the COVID-19 vaccines for people with disability. Additional information and resources can be found on the website for people with disability, including resources translated into AUSLAN.
- NDIS COVID-19 information for people with a disability and ways NDIS are working with providers to make sure they understand what they need to do to make sure participants get the support they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Disability Gateway website and helpline 1800 643 787
Support for autistic people through the COVID-19 pandemic
Autism Spectrum Australia have developed a range of resources to support autistic people and people with special needs be supported.
Amaze, a peak body for autistic people and their supporters, have developed a COVID-19 community information hub. The hub has resources to help autistic people and their supporters to access and prepare for vaccination appointments. There are a range of social scripts, a webinar on supporting autistic children to get their vaccination, and a COVID-19 vaccination appointment checklist. There are also guides for health professionals and free training on supporting autistic people through the vaccination process. These resources can help providers in their conversations with autistic patients.
Metro South Health and Hospital Service worked with Autism Queensland to offer targeted support to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who have difficulty receiving vaccines through mainstream channels.
Vaccinations for homebound people
Many at-risk people may be housebound or have other obstacles or health conditions that prevent them from attending a vaccination hub, clinic or pharmacy. Service providers who have not been able to arrange vaccination for this group of clients can complete the online referral form to request support, including in-home appointments, to ensure priority people get access to the vaccine and are protected against COVID-19.