About resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients
We have produced a number of resources to help immunisation providers have supportive, culturally appropriate vaccination conversations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. While there is a focus on influenza vaccination, the principles can be applied to other vaccinations.
Health providers have an important role in making strong recommendations and offering relevant vaccinations to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at any medical appointment.
However, in our earlier research with providers who provide vaccinations in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, we learned that:
- mainstream providers need guidance on how to be culturally safe;
- all providers need guidance on how to have a supportive yarn with families who may have concerns and be hesitant about vaccination;
- and families would like information about vaccination that is clear, short, and designed in partnership with communities.
The resources available through the SKAI website address those needs. They have been designed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and health providers in collaboration with the NCIRS Social Science Team, and are informed by research with immunisation providers working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.1
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more likely to experience severe influenza disease2 that could be prevented with vaccination. In Australia, seasonal influenza is the most common vaccine-preventable disease contributing to hospitalisation, aside from COVID-19.
Since 2019, influenza vaccination has been funded for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over six months of age, but Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families are under-vaccinated.3,4
Providers have an important role in strongly recommending and opportunistically offering influenza vaccination to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over six months of age.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people value receiving a clear message and strong recommendation to vaccinate from their health provider.
However, recent studies indicate that some providers may not be aware of the risk of influenza complications for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of all ages, and the importance of strongly recommending vaccination. As a result, some may not be opportunistically offering and strongly recommending influenza vaccination to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of all ages.1,5,6
- You can use this guide when talking with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and their families about vaccination
- This resource helps you to have culturally appropriate, supportive conversations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients about any vaccination
- This resource gives an example of an actual flu vaccine yarn (conversation) between an immunisation provider and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patient.
- As a provider, you can use this document for ideas about what to say and how to say it.
- This resource helps answer key questions Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families may have about influenza vaccination
- You can print this resource and give it to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family when you start your influenza vaccination conversation
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people value having a conversation with their health provider, so use this resource as a conversation starter (rather than leaving it in the waiting room or handing it to the patient without having a conversation).
If you are looking for further resources, download the summary table of vaccination resources.
- It provides a summary of influenza and COVID-19 vaccination information tools and communication resources featured on key Australian health websites which were designed (with or without input from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people) either for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, or for immunisation providers working with them.
- You can scan through this summary to find and download relevant resources to support you and/or your Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. NCIRS Sharing Knowledge About Immunisation (SKAI) and ACI Shared Decision Making tool (which are listed at the top of the summary table) may be particularly useful for immunisation providers.
- Bolsewicz, K.T., et al., “Every interaction you have …should be an opportunity to discuss and offer influenza vaccination”. Health service perspectives on influenza vaccination promotion and delivery to Aboriginal families living in New South Wales, Australia. Vaccine, 2022. 40(40): p.5814-5820. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2022.08.057
- Pathel, C., Dey, A., Wang, H., McIntyre, P., Macartney, K., Beard, F. Summary of National Surveillance Data on Vaccine Preventable Disease in Australia, 20216-2018. Communicable Diseases Intelligence. 2022. Vol 46. https://doi.org/10.33321/cdi.2022.46.28
- Hull, B., Hendry, A., Dey, A., Brotherton, J., Macartney, K., and Beard, F., 2021. Annual Immunisation Coverage Report 2020. The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance, available from https://ncirs.org.au/media/744
- Influenza vaccination coverage data 2021-2022, available from https://www.ncirs.org.au/influenza-vaccination-coverage-data
- O'Grady, K.-A., et al., Uptake of influenza vaccination in pregnancy amongst Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women: a mixed-methods pilot study. BMC Research Notes, 2015. 8(169). https://bmcresnotes.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13104-015-1147-3
- Menzies, R., et al., Why is influenza vaccine uptake so low among Aboriginal adults? Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 2020. 44: p. 279-83. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1753-6405.13004