Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many seniors from migrant and refugee communities have become isolated to protect themselves against COVID-19. While vaccine uptake among older people has been high, many are still struggling with misinformation and hesitancy, which is preventing people from getting vaccinated.
The Ethnic Communities' Council of Victoria (ECCV) interviewed inspiring seniors from diverse backgrounds and created this series of videos in Greek, Italian, Arabic, Hindi, Punjabi, Turkish, Macedonian, Cantonese, Chaldean, Dari, Dinka, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese.
Each video is an informative account of why they chose to get vaccinated, and the importance of having accurate and up-to-date information on the vaccine and its benefits.
Randa Abboud runs an Arabic women's seniors group in Dandenong North. She talks about how many older people were afraid to get vaccinated at the start of the pandemic. After her mother’s death from COVID-19, however, she made sure she sought out the right information and shared it with her family and friends.
Vincent has been working as a pharmacist in Box Hill since he migrated to Australia from Hong Kong 30 years ago. People in his community, especially the elderly, have had many questions about COVID-19 vaccines. He is always happy to answer these questions. His wife, Lisa, is also a pharmacist and has been supporting the community as a vaccine champion.
As president of Australian Chaldean Family Welfare, Dalal has spent a lot of time speaking with members of her community during the pandemic, particularly vulnerable seniors. Dalal found that one of the biggest issues people faced was misinformation and the lack of COVID-19 health information in their language.
When Rafaela came to Australia in the 1960s with her family, she helped those around her by translating for them. Helping her friends and family meant that she got to know Melbourne’s Spanish-speaking communities. She eventually became a community advisor, working with the United-Spanish Latin American Welfare Centre.
Sotiris is the editor-in-chief of Neos Kosmos. After seeing the how COVID-19 has spread, particularly among Greek community members in aged care, he knew vaccination was the only way to protect the community.
Reeta is a law lecturer and family dispute practitioner who has worked with Indian seniors groups for more than 20 years. Getting vaccinated has given her the freedom to reconnect with her students, friends and community.
For the past 38 years, Nouria has been supporting people arriving in Victoria from Afghanistan through the Afghan Australian Development Organisation she founded. Having come to Australia 40 years ago, she knows how important community is to feeling settled and safe in a new country.
Throughout the pandemic, many seniors from migrant and refugee communities have become isolated to protect themselves against COVID-19. That’s why Lem made sure to become an advocate for vaccination, helping his community recover and come together.
Through his involvement with the Alevi Community Council of Australia, Nihat was aware of concerns about the vaccine. Having experienced firsthand what it’s like to watch vaccine-hesitant older family members get COVID-19, however, Nihat wants to make sure that no one has to go through that again.
Sauro has been on the Board of the Assisi Centre for almost 30 years and has been involved with Assisi Aged Care since its inception in 1990. He was made Cavaliere Ufficiale by the Italian Government in recognition of his work on behalf of the Italian community.
Kire’s job as an interpreter at a hospital is about helping people understand but it is also about building a sense of trust. During the pandemic, Kire has been supporting patients to ask questions and understand doctors, including translating at information sessions held for the community.
During the pandemic, Fartun has been supporting the Somali community through the East African Women’s Association she founded. This includes running community information sessions, where she and her team address questions regarding COVID-19 and vaccinations.
As Chaplain for Filipino Community Services, Norminda has been working closely with seniors in her community throughout the pandemic to address their fears and concerns. Many older community members have felt nervous about the unknown and Norminda has been working hard to help friends, family and the broader community overcome their fears and learn to live safely during COVID-19.
As CEO of the Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association, Cam helps provide in-home care and support to more than 2000 older people in their homes. Because she, along with other tireless aged care providers, care for a high-risk age group, it was important everything was done to protect them.
Reviewed 19 July 2022