Please note: This story contains reference to someone who has died.
The Arthur Beetson Foundation (ABF) and Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) kicked-off their Murri Rugby League Carnival in Queensland this week.
In an Australian-first the carnival has adopted a COVID vaccination hub, not only to administer the vaccination but to also educate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities about the pandemic.
Across seven days 1,800 players aged from 12-years are expected to play in the Deadly Choices Junior Murri Carnival. Officials, families and extended families attend are all encouraged to roll up their sleeves and get the jab, if they haven’t already.
Roughly 7,000 to 10,000 attendees will have the opportunity to be vaccinated at the statewide tournament.
ABF Chair Steven Johnson said the foundation has cracked down to ensure they help protect the most vulnerable when it comes to COVID-19.
“We lost Arthur to what was then the biggest widener of the gap, heart disease and the battle we started under his name as the Arthur Beetson Foundation has gotten tougher with COVID-19,” he said.
“COVID-19 attacks most viciously the most vulnerable people, those with underlying chronic health conditions and sadly, like Arthur, that is largely our beloved Elders,
“so it’s everyone’s responsibility to step up and get the jab and help keep them safe.”
The Murri Carnival is the next phase in the Australia’s Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) ‘I Stepped Up’ campaign, specifically encouraging South East Queensland communities to get the vaccine.
“To date we’ve delivered more than 14,000 vaccine doses to South East Queensland community members and we trust the Queensland Murri Carnival will grow further impetus around getting vaccinated right across the State,” IUIH CEO Adrian Carson said.
“Importantly it’s crucial to provide our community with the information and resources they need to feel comfortable about coming out to get vaccinated which it’s hoped with the numerous incentives available will happen over the coming days of the carnival.”
Some incentives for mob at the carnival to ‘Step Up’ and get vaccinated include double passes to this weekend’s NRL Preliminary Finals, Deadly Choices NRL retro shirts, signed Queensland Maroons State of Origin jerseys and Brisbane Broncos and Rebel Sport merchandise and vouchers.
By Teisha Cloos