From Tuesday, June 8, all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are 16 and over are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The move is aimed at protecting particularly vulnerable communities. Since invasion, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have consistently experienced poorer health outcomes compared to white Australia due to ongoing violence, dispossession and exclusion from mainstream services.

“Vaccines give very strong, and sustained, protection against the severe forms of COVID-19,” the Department of Health said in a statement.

“Every person who is vaccinated will be helping to protect the health of their family, friends and community.”

In addition to the new megaclinics, GPs and hospitals, COVID vaccines are also available from many Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.

You can double-check your eligibility and find a full list of locations where you can get vaccinated here.

Prior to now, everyone in the Northern Territory outside of Darwin (regardless of their race) was also eligible for the vaccine in order to protect vulnerable Aboriginal communities, who make up almost a third of the population in the territory.

Incidentally, as of today, this eligibility has also expanded to include everyone within Darwin.

“This is a sensible approach given our relatively small but highly vulnerable population,” NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner said while announcing the move on Monday.

Also included in today’s expanded eligibility are all NDIS participants aged 16 and up, as well as NDIS carers.

While the government’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been undeniably shit, it’s good to see eligibility being expanded to those communities who could potentially be hit hardest by a new outbreak.

Hopefully they can pick up the pace, while they’re at it.

Image: Getty Images / Scott Olson & James D. Morgan