The Big River Region's Aboriginal controlled health provider is offering incentives for anyone who gets the COVID-19 jab this month amid ongoing concern around low vaccination rates.
The Wurli-Wurlinjang Aboriginal Health Service is offering a $30 Woolworths voucher for anyone who gets vaccinated this month, or two vouchers worth a total of $60 if both doses are done within the month.
Wurli is also offering anyone who gets their second dose this month the chance to win a new mobile phone.
The incentive program was introduced amid ongoing hesitancy around the vaccine in the Big Rivers region, especially in Aboriginal communities which are considered to be among the most vulnerable to the virus.
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However, according to Primary Health Care Operations Manager for Wurli Antony King, only 14 per cent of people in the Aboriginal communities the organisation services have gotten the jab.
Mr King said the incentives were a new strategy for encouraging its clients to get vaccinated before it's too late.
"It's certainly getting a bit of interest," he said.
"What we're trying to do is change the messaging of social media. Not going into the debate of whether or not to get the vaccine, but talking about what will happen in communities when COVID comes.
"Hospitals in NT won't be able to cope with increased demand and people won't be able to directly access health care because of COVID."
Mr King said health professionals were working to combat a lot of misinformation being spread on social media by working with community elders and Traditional Owners to get the message out.
"We have communities within a 40km radius and there is a board member from each one of those communities engaging in conversations around COVID," he said.
"Certainly from a Big Rivers region perspective, we're all on the same page.
"Everyone on every level is looking at every option."
If the incentive scheme is successful, Mr King said Wurli will continue to provide incentives for getting vaccinated.
"In the middle of November we're looking at doing hampers for a raffle and drawing them before Christmas," he said.
"Ultimately we need to try and protect these communities. This deadly virus is coming.
"The best defence is the vaccine."
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