Australian politician names surprise culprit for low Aboriginal vax rate

The premier of Western Australia has suggested US-based “white supremacist groups” may be to blame for low Covid vaccination rates among Aboriginals, claiming the Indigenous community has been targeted with anti-vaxx propaganda.

“There’s been some misinformation provided to Aboriginal people from people who do not have their best interests at heart,” Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan told reporters on Thursday, adding that he had “heard from one Aboriginal person who said white supremacist groups are sending information to Aboriginal people that they shouldn’t get vaccinated.”

Now, the suspicion is these white supremacist groups out of America wouldn’t be unhappy if bad outcomes occurred to the health of Aboriginal people in Australia. That’s the problem we face.

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McGowan warned that “white supremacists” were seeking “to harm Aboriginal people,” and urged the Indigenous community to “listen to the experts” when it came to vaccines. 

Some 75% of West Australia’s population of 2.6 million is fully vaccinated, according to local media, though rates among Aboriginals continue to lag in the 30% range.

Earlier this week, the premier doubled down on Western Australia’s strict ongoing border closures with other states, arguing that recent measures taken by the federal government over fears of the Omicron strain of coronavirus vindicate his administration’s decisions.

“It turns out that borders and measures to keep people out who might be infected work,” he said. 

The state plans to drop its border restrictions when it hits a full-vaccination target of 90% – slightly more strict than the 80% goal set by the federal government – and McGowan is expected to put a hard date on a reopening plan sometime in the coming days.

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