On day one of Melbourne’s seven day circuit-breaker lockdown to contain an outbreak of COVID-19, Thorne Harbour Health CEO Simon Ruth on Friday made a strong pitch to the LGBTQI+ and people living with HIV to get vaccinated.
“While many of us were getting comfortable with the new normal, the recent outbreak reminds us that COVID is still with us. With that in mind we’re encouraging everyone to get vaccinated,” Ruth said in a video.
“Vaccines provide the community with an extra level of protection to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and also to prevent serious illness. So when it’s your turn, please get vaccinated. And if you’re showing any symptoms get tested,” said Ruth.
The Australian government’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout is currently underway. People over the age of 50 as well as those in Phase 1A & 1B of the vaccine roll out are currently eligible to get vaccinated. However, depending on the state or territory that one lives in, other groups are also eligible. Adults living with HIV are eligible under Phase 1B to receive the vaccine in all states and territories.
Following the advice of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), people aged 50 and over will be eligible for the AstraZeneca vaccine and adults under 50, will be eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.
Studies in the US have seen some vaccine hesitancy in the LGBTQI+ communities. In one study, one in 10 LGBTQI+ persons said that they would not get vaccinated, though the percentage was less than among the heterosexual population, where 15 % said they would not get vaccinated.
Ruth also reminded people to take care of their sexual health.
“I also want to take this opportunity to remind everyone to continue to look after your sexual health with regular sexual health screens. This is another important way to look after yourself and your sexual partners for the next several days. I’m going to be easy, but please stay safe, keep wearing face masks to protect yourself and those around you,” said Ruth.
THH pointed to resources available, including Switchboard’s Rainbow Door service, for those in Victorian LGBTQI community who are having it tough with the latest lockdown.