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Sharks urge Indigenous Australians to ‘Step Up’ for the COVID-19 vaccine

The Sharks have thrown its support behind Deadly Choices, one of its key community partners, by agreeing to showcase and distribute campaign socks among their players to highlight the importance of the COVID vaccine, particularly among local Indigenous communities throughout the Sutherland Shire.

In joining Australia’s Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) along with its four founding Community Controlled Health Services (CCHSs), the Sharks hope to assist in sparking eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations to get the COVID-19 vaccine, in support of the ‘I Stepped Up’ campaign and website.

Through Sharks Have Heart, the Club supports the work of Deadly Choices in educating local youth around ideal healthy lifestyle choices, including the encouragement of all community members to maintain a regular health check at their local Vitalis Family Health Practice clinic.

Sharks General Manager Community, People & Culture George Nour added his endorsement for the ‘I Stepped Up’ initiative. 

“This campaign is an absolute imperative, at a crucial time for all Australians, and particularly among Aboriginal and Torres Strait populations.

“Reseach shows they have a much higher incidence of underlying chronic illness, which places populations in that more vulnerable category of being seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a pivotal part of our partnership commitment to ensure the improvement of Indigenous peoples’ wellbeing and to ensure individuals and entire communities live long, prosperous, healthy lives,” Nour added.

The COVID-19 vaccine is a watershed moment not only towards achieving optimal outcomes throughout the Shire, but across the entire country and and the Sharks entrust Vitalis health services to keep families and communities safe through the ‘I Stepped Up’ campaign. 

A number of Sharks NRL squad members, both Indigenous and otherwise, have thrown their support behind the program in assisting to deliver the important health information to bring about higher vaccination rates across the country.

The campaign features informative videos, answers to frequently asked questions and a slew of other resources which are all available on the campaign website, in providing community members with tailored COVID-19 vaccine information in one place.

IUIH CEO, Adrian Carson thanked the Sharks for their continued support of its many health service initiatives, highlighting how important it is that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders came out to get vaccinated now, to protect their family and community during the COVID-19 crisis in NSW.

“The support of the Cronulla Sharks in IUIH’s ‘I Stepped Up’ campaign is indicative of the genuine nature of our collective partnership with the Sharks and Vitalis health services and we thank Sharks players and the extended team for their continuation of such support at such a critical time for our people,” Carson said.

“It is crucial to provide our community with the information and resources they need to feel comfortable about coming out to get vaccinated.

“With this campaign we want to ensure our people get informed from well-respected community members, so we have Elders including Aunty Mary Graham and Uncle Les Collins providing insight as to why we should get vaccinated.

“Everyone has a different motivation for getting the COVID-19 vaccine, whether to protect their community, to keep family members safe or to make plans for the future, so we want to highlight the different reasons which will resonate with more of our mob.”

Resources such as videos featuring well-respected community members on why they ‘Stepped Up’ to get the vaccine, myth busting and informative ‘I Stepped Up’ brochures will also be shared across social channels to encourage community in South East Queensland and beyond to ‘Step Up’.

Visit the I Stepped Up website by visiting www.isteppedup.com.au  and follow the campaign on social media via Facebook at: www.facebook.com/deadlychoices