Between July 19 and August 15, Advance Diversity Services (ADS) staff targeted more than 1500 COVID-19 health messages to ensure people in CALD communities were well-informed about the dangers of the coronavirus and the importance of vaccination.

Their work was part of a short term project funded by the Settlement Council of Australia (SCoA) aimed to increase vaccine uptake across Greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, and Wollongong, in light of the current outbreak of COVID-19. 

ADS staff across the Settlement and Community Services and Aged Care divisions were engaged in additional communications with clients via phone calls, social media applications including WeChat, LINE, Viber, WhatApp and Facebook. The additional communiques were intended to increase access to accurate and reliable information about the current COVID-19 vaccine, how to access the vaccine, and other health information regarding COVID-19.

As of August 15, ADS staff reported more than 500 calls with individual clients, over 500 emails sent as well as over 200 WhatsApp messages. Social media engagement included more than 300 Facebook posts. Overall, more than 25 language groups were provided with information across Greater Sydney. 

Information shared included COVID-19 vaccination sessions, locations of vaccinations such as hubs and GPs, accessing support payments, stay at home orders and translated guidelines. 

‘With the highly transmissible Delta variant gaining a foothold across Greater Sydney, it was a crucial time to be communicating with our CALD clients and others about how to protect themselves against the virus,’ said Anthony Scerri, ADS’s Manager for Settlement and Community Services.

‘The SCoA funding enabled us to be very focused; urging people to get vaccinated and to encourage others to play their part in stopping the spread.’

After the project ended, ADS staff continued to communicate with people in CALD communities to help keep them safe, Mr Scerri said.

For example, ADS’s Nepalese community worker Rishi Acharya and Arabic community worker Fatima Sayed were part of a recent in-language video project with Georges River Council to urge people to get vaccinated.

ADS’s Bangla community worker Tasneem Rashid also recently worked with the Public Health Unit and the Multicultural Health Service in South Eastern Sydney Local Health District to offer a session for the Bangla community to give up-to-date accurate medical information in Bangla about the vaccines.

‘Our staff are going the extra mile to assist the refugees, migrants and elderly people who use our services to protect themselves and their families,’ Mr Scerri said. ‘We’re also proud to be collaborating with health services, local councils and peak bodies like SCoA to ensure messages about the pandemic reach their intended audiences.’