Australia’s famous Royal Flying Doctor Service is being mobilised as part of the effort to ensure that people living in very remote areas will be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Regional Health Minister Mark Coulton, along with Deputy PM, Michael McCormack, visited the visit the RFDS base in Dubbo, New South Wales to announce what the parties involved called a “significant national partnership”.
Coulton said the tie-up with Australia’s iconic aeromedical service means remote communities can be confident in their ability to be part of the rollout to combat the virus.
RFDS has been involved in other pandemic measures
“From the outset of this pandemic, the RFDS has provided retrievals, evacuations, swab transfers and fly-in GP respiratory clinics [to protect] the lives of people living and working in the most remote corners of the country,” he stated.
“The Federal Government is continuing this pandemic partnership with RFDS [by] engaging the 93-year-old service to deliver vaccines in remote communities.”
According to the minister, nobody knows remote communities like the Flying Doctor and it makes sense for the Government to utilise their capacity and knowledge to ensure all Australians can be protected.
“Vaccination is the key to a strong future and particularly important for remote communities, where we know chronic diseases are increased and access to health care is less,” he noted.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at high risk
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at a high risk of developing serious illness from Covid and this partnership with [the] RFDS means they can stay in [their] community and still get vaccinated.”
Frank Quinlan, the Federation Executive Director of the RFDS, said that following a successful vaccination program in Eucla, WA, planning and development was well underway to bring the rollout to other remote communities.
These include Cape York, Normanton, Doomadgee and Longreach in Queensland; NG lands, One Arm Point, Cape Leveque and Fitzroy Valley in Western Australia; and Ivanhoe, Menindee, Tibooburra, Wilcannia, Innamincka and White Cliffs in New South Wales.
The Deputy PM noted that the Flying Doctor was crucial in meeting the rollout challenge in a nation as demographically diverse and sparsely populated as Australia.