A Queensland CEO armed with a syringe, is fighting to have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples protected against COVID-19, personally administering the vaccine, one vial at a time.
Gidgee Healing CEO Renee Blackman, a proud Gubbi Gubbi woman and registered nurse, has remained hands-on in her quest to have all her people from Mt Isa, the North West and Lower Gulf regions of the State fully vaccinated.
Renee is part of an entire First Nation contingent of doctors, nurses and Aboriginal health practitioners injecting vaccines, imparting a greater understanding of the virus, while also allaying personal fears around getting the jab.
That process will again be on show in Mt Isa this Friday evening as Gidgee Healing hosts it’s Deadly Night Out push for vaccinations among Australia’s First Nations populations.
“This is about Gidgee doing their bit in the effort to lift vaccination rates before that December deadline drops. Where our next focus will shift to handling our first case of COVID and the inevitable outbreak,” confirmed Ms Blackman.
“This Friday will be another chance for the First Nations community of Mt Isa to access a bulk vaccination opportunity to either acquire their first dose or complete their course.
“We look forward to having one-on-one sit downs with people who want to ask questions, who are not sure and want more information. It’s a chance to have a chat with a health professional.”
Gidgee’s Deadly Night Out will be a true family affair with kids activities also available, including coaching clinics on behalf of the NRL and AFL, a free BBQ, plus the chance for those people stepping up for the jab to take home a retro Deadly Choices shirt and be in the draw to win free Virgin Australia Flights to anywhere in Australia.
“We are really excited to be working with Virgin Australia and Accor to make this event possible. The incentive should attract some attention and we hope that many more large companies follow suit and like Virgin Australia and Accor, throw unwavering support behind events like this one in communities like ours.”
Gidgee’s Deadly Night Out is made all the more appealing for locals, with current and former Broncos rugby league players Jordan Rikki, Ezra Mam, Lote Tuquiri, Xavier Willison and Ethan Quai-Ward, along with Deadly Choices Ambassadors, league legend Steve Renouf and NRLW rep Tallisha Harden joining in the fun at Buchanan Park, Mt Isa from 4pm.
Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said as a Queensland-based business, it takes its responsibility to the community seriously.
“The places we fly to, whether it’s Brisbane or regional centres like Mt Isa, Rockhampton and Townsville, are gateways for Indigenous families and it is important that we help support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to be as well prepared as possible for the arrival of COVID-19,” Ms Hrdlicka said.
“Supporting communities across Virgin Australia’s flying network in Queensland is part of our commitment to safety.
“We know one of the key motivations for people getting vaccinated is to be able to travel and reunite with family, especially as we approach the festive season.
“We intend to work collaboratively across the community to prepare for a safe opening of borders,” she said.