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September 2021

Man pointing to his arm after having his vaccination jpeg
Rohullah Hossaini (Picture: Amy Maynard courtesy of The Swan Hill Guardian)

Refugees encouraged to get their vaccine

By Lucy Williams of The Swan Hill Guardian

Swan Hill man Rohullah Hossaini is encouraging refugees like him to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

The 33-year-old local health worker, translator and SES volunteer rolled up his sleeve last month for his first shot of the Pfizer vaccine.

Swan Hill District Health Chief Executive Officer Peter Abraham said the weekend saw a sizeable number of high-risk people being vaccinated.

‘Over the past weekend, we were delighted to be able to provide more than 100 vaccinations to the high-risk accommodation and refugee population,’ Mr Abraham said.

While Mr Hossaini has already been assisting the local Hazara refugee community to access pandemic information in their native language, he is now calling for them to book in for a jab if they have not already.

‘I work as an interpreter and it’s about encouraging people to come out and get a vaccine, especially if you are a refugee or a migrant,’ Mr Hossaini said.

‘It’s about keeping my community, my family, my friends and my loved ones safe.

‘I think now more than half of the Afghan community have had their first jab and then after six weeks more of us will get our second dose and others will get their first dose which will be good.’

Mr Hossaini was glad to be a ‘guinea pig’ if it encouraged more of his community to get vaccinated sooner rather than later.

He said the needle ‘didn’t hurt at all’ and he’s keen to have one more to be fully-vaccinated.

Nurse Judy Deveraux said local health workers were also keen to assist in this process.

‘We are working with people who may be a bit more nervous than the general population but we want to assure them that having the vaccine in Australia is very safe.’