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09 Mar 2021

Media releases

Data collection will help protect vulnerable communities

Settlement Services International (SSI) has welcomed news that a person’s birthplace and languages spoken will be recorded when they receive a COVID-19 vaccine or test positive to the virus.

The information will help officials identify gaps in the public health response, so they can target resources, adjust tracing strategies and better engage community leaders.

“This is an important way to address a potential gap in the vaccination strategy, to monitor health outcomes and to achieve health equity,” said SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis.

With overseas data suggesting ethnic minorities are less likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Australia’s community leaders and academics have pushed for data collection on ethnicity in the same way gender, Indigenous background and age are recorded.

“It’s important to know if vulnerable groups have been affected badly, missed out in the testing regime, or have not been receiving the vaccine,” said Ms Roumeliotis.

SSI, a leading NGO that specialises in supporting people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, has seen the impact of COVID-19 on some of its most vulnerable individuals and communities.

It has also seen the determination of community leaders to prevent the scapegoating of migrant communities during the pandemic and the importance of connecting with people, peer to peer, through trusted relationships, to communicate health and safety messages.

SSI previously welcomed the government’s decision to roll out a COVID-19 vaccination public information campaign, targeting peak multicultural organisations to help reach culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

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