Albany Aboriginal basketball carnival bid to boost COVID vaccination rates

Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
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Stuart Roberts and Darren Hardy, front, with Warriors’ Shayne Ugle, GSAHS health promotions officer Allirra Simpson, Aboriginal liaison officer maternal Sam Williams, Sen. Sgt Hugh Letessier, City of Albany’s Jude Want, Kinjarling’s Travis Whitby, Luke Mowaljarlai Jr and Jordan Hayward.
Camera IconStuart Roberts and Darren Hardy, front, with Warriors’ Shayne Ugle, GSAHS health promotions officer Allirra Simpson, Aboriginal liaison officer maternal Sam Williams, Sen. Sgt Hugh Letessier, City of Albany’s Jude Want, Kinjarling’s Travis Whitby, Luke Mowaljarlai Jr and Jordan Hayward. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

An Aboriginal basketball carnival will be held in Albany to bring families together from across the Great Southern for a day of friendly competition and an opportunity to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The free 3x3 Aboriginal Basketball Competition and COVID Vaccination Clinic will be held at Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre on December 18, with courts open at noon and tip-off at 1pm.

Participants must be 12 years and over to play in the tournament.

Free sausage sizzles, entertainment, an elders’ lunch, family activities and cash prizes will be available across the afternoon.

Great Southern Aboriginal Health Service professionals will be on hand to chat about COVID-19 vaccinations and administer jabs to anyone eligible.

This week, of the 31,107 eligible residents in the City of Albany local government area, 91 per cent had received their first dose and 80.7 per cent were fully vaccinated.

Kinjarling’s Jordan Hayward, Darren Hardy and Luke Mowaljarlai Jr, 17.
Camera IconKinjarling’s Jordan Hayward, Darren Hardy and Luke Mowaljarlai Jr, 17. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

However the latest vaccination figures revealed just 58.8 per cent of Albany’s eligible Indigenous population had received their first COVID-19 vaccination with only 43.4 per cent of the 1087 eligible community members double-dosed.

Great Southern Noongar Emerging Leadership Group chair Stuart Roberts said the carnival was about having fun and protecting the community.

“Once the borders do open there is the potential for COVID to reach our communities very quickly and we want to ensure our communities are protected so we are prepared and resilient for when the virus should arrive in our region,” he said.

“The young ones might be feeling it doesn’t apply to them and they are fine, but if they are potentially affected down the track then they could be carriers and take it home to their loved ones and their elders and families.”

“It is important that we cover all bases and ensure that everybody understands that we all have a role to play and we need to try and keep us all safe.”

Albany police will take on competitors on-court with officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Hugh Letessier urging people from across the region to join in.

Teams must register by December 15 with City of Albany’sJude Want on judithw@albany.wa.gov.au or 6820 3451.

Some registrations will be allowed on the day.

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