22 December 2022

The 'Keep Our Mob Safe' COVID-19 and Public Health newsletter provides the latest information and resources about COVID-19 and public health issues specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations.


This edition includes:

  • A COVID-19 message from Dr Kerry Chant, NSW Chief Health Officer
  • Stay COVID safe these holidays
  • New resources to help keep mob mosquito bite free this summer
  • Summer ‘Yarn Up’ videos now available to share
  • Easy Vaccine Access (EVA) service

Please share this information and resources with mob via your communication channels.


This is our final edition for 2022. We appreciate the support you have shown this year in sharing these resources and wish everyone a happy, healthy and safe holiday season.

A COVID-19 message from Dr Kerry Chant, NSW Health Chief Health Officer

Today, Dr Kerry Chant, NSW Chief Health Officer, advised the number of COVID-19 cases in NSW are stable or declining. This suggests NSW has passed the peak of this current COVID-19 wave. However, as we head into the busy holiday season, Dr Chant encourages the community to remain vigilant and to take some simple steps to continue to protect yourself and others. 


She also extends her gratitude to everyone in NSW for helping to keep us all safe from COVID-19 throughout 2022. 

Stay COVID safe these holidays

This holiday period we are looking forward to gathering with and travelling to see mob, but with COVID-19 still circulating it is important to stay COVID safe and protect those who are at higher risk of severe illness.


Here are the little things we can all do to help keep our mob safe from COVID-19 these holidays.

  • Anyone with cold or flu symptoms (such as runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever) are advised to stay home and get tested: 
    • COVID-19 testing clinics in NSW will remain open over the Christmas period and into the New Year.
    • Anyone at higher risk of severe illness should get a PCR test as they are more accurate and help those who are eligible access antiviral medicines Free PCR testing continues to be available in NSW without a GP referral over the Christmas and New Year period.
    • Anyone not at higher risk of severe illness is advised to do a rapid antigen test (RAT) unless advised by their doctor to get a PCR test. Free RATs are available for eligible Commonwealth Concessions Card holders in NSW.
    • Consider doing a RAT before attending gatherings or visiting people who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
    • It is recommended you register a positive RAT result with Service NSW to more easily access medical support, including antiviral medicines, if eligible.

  •  Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should take steps to look after themselves and avoid spreading the virus to others:
    • While it’s no longer mandatory to self-isolate, people who catch COVID-19 should still try to stay home and avoid having visitors. This will reduce the spread of COVID-19 and help protect other people from catching it, especially those who are at higher risk of severe illness.
    • For those who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, antiviral medicines can help stop people from becoming really sick and needing to go to hospital, but they should be taken within 5 days of symptoms starting to be effective.
    • Use the COVID-19 Symptom and Antiviral Eligibility Checker to find out if you are eligible for antiviral medicines or speak to your doctor or Aboriginal Medical Service.
    • It’s a good idea to speak to your doctor or Aboriginal Medical Service to find out what their opening hours are over the Christmas and New Year period, and to make a plan in advance about what to do if you test positive to COVID-19. If you can’t contact your doctor for health support or access to antiviral medicines, contact the NSW Health COVID-19 and Flu Care at Home Support Line on 1800 960 933 or the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.

  • Vaccination is still the best protection against getting really sick from COVID-19. Make sure you and your mob are up to date with vaccinations and booster doses:  
    • COVID-19 vaccinations and booster doses are available from GPs, pharmacies and Aboriginal Medical Services.
    • COVID-19 vaccinations and booster doses are free for everyone in Australia, regardless of whether they have a Medicare card or not.
    • Free assistance with booking vaccination appointments is available via the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.

  • Remember, when we get together, let’s do it outside or in well ventilated spaces.
  • If you are in a crowded space, or on public transport, it’s best to wear a face mask.
  • Keep washing your hands regularly or use hand sanitiser when out and about.

These are simple ways we can help keep our mob safe from COVID-19 during the holiday period.


Please share these resources with mob across your channels: 

New resources to help mob enjoy being outdoors, mozzie bite free this summer

Keep mozzies away. Take the steps to protect. Spray up, cover up, screen up

Summer is a great time to get outdoors with mob. Just like we love the warm weather, so do mosquitoes (mozzies).


Some mozzies in NSW carry viruses like the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) that can make people very sick. Take the steps to protect you and your mob when out and about this summer:

  1. Spray up. Apply and reapply repellent regularly to all areas of exposed skin. Repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus are most effective against mozzies. Apply sunscreen first, followed by repellent, so you can stay safe from the sun and prevent mozzie bites. 
  2. Cover up. Wear light, loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts, long pants and covered footwear with socks when outside. 
  3. Screen up. Close doors and windows when indoors or install fly screens where possible to keep mozzies out. 
  4. Clean up. Mozzies breed in stagnant water. Remove items around your home that might collect water such as old tyres, kid's toys and empty pots. Do what you can to improve drainage around your home to ensure water doesn’t become stagnant.

New resources for Aboriginal communities are now available at Aboriginal resources.


Check out the latest information on mosquitoes and bite prevention.

Did you miss our Summer ‘Yarn Up’?

For our Summer ‘Yarn Up’ in early December, host Paul Weir from Northern Sydney Local Health District (LHD) had a yarn with health experts about some important health issues for mob to know about this summer. This included:

  • Adam McEwen, Aboriginal Environmental Health Officer, who talked about the steps you can take to protect yourself from mosquitoes and the viruses they carry.
  • Dr Bijay Pandey, from Wellington Aboriginal Medical Service, with tips on staying COVID safe this summer and antiviral medicines.
  • Patricia Fleming, Public Health Epidemiologist, who outlined what is monkeypox (mpox), who is most at risk and how to protect yourself.

Don’t worry if you missed it, you can watch the recording of the Summer ‘Yarn Up’ on our website. Please share the full video of the Summer ‘Yarn Up’ and the shorter videos focusing on the specific health issues with mob via your channels:

Easy Vaccine Access (EVA) Service

The Easy Vaccine Access (EVA) service makes it simple and streamlined for people to book a vaccination appointment or ask questions about available COVID-19 treatments such as antiviral medicines.


It’s simple to use – just send an SMS with ‘Hey EVA’ to 0481 611 382. The EVA service will send a reply asking:

  • Name
  • Preferred date and time for a call back
  • Best number for a call back.

A trained operator from the National Coronavirus Helpline will call the number provided at the preferred date and time to help book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment and answer any questions about COVID-19 treatments such as antiviral medicines.


EVA is available between 7am and 10pm (AEDT), 7 days a week.

NSW Respiratory Surveillance report

The latest information on COVID-19 can be viewed in the weekly NSW Respiratory Surveillance Report.


For more information, contact the Centre for Aboriginal Health:


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