Clinics, fundraisers, research and more!
There’s been a lot going on at The VacSeen Project over the last two months – so let’s get you up to speed! The VacSeen Project was founded in early 2020 to ensure that all people experiencing homelessness could receive an influenza vaccine free of charge, and in a familiar setting, however the elephant in the room was always COVID-19. We’d been looking for a way to help vulnerable groups access COVID-19 vaccines more easily (i.e. outside of a GP Clinic or a mass vaccination centre), and in October we were finally able to bring this to fruition.
Across October, The VacSeen Project collaborated with several community groups to hold pop-up COVID-19 clinics, including at Emmanuel City Mission with our wonderful friends from Kombi Clinic, and at Brisbane Youth Service, to help a younger population get their vaccines. A number of those we helped vaccinate in these clinics mentioned that they would likely not have received their COVID-19 vaccine if not for our clinic; for us, this demonstrated just how important the work we are doing is.
In November, as well as hosting follow-up clinics for both first and second doses, we partnered with Brisbane’s largest social housing provider, Brisbane Housing Company to host some pop-up COVID-19 clinics at their residences. Brisbane Housing Company provide housing to those who would otherwise be on the streets, in a ‘housing-first’ approach to wellbeing that has proven effective in the US, and we helped vaccinate 10% of residents who had not already received their first dose.
Thanks to all those who helped us put these clinics on – we know that providing COVID-19 vaccines in a familiar setting, around familiar services, as well as simply having conversations with people about their concerns or queries is the best way to encourage those most-at-risk to protect themselves against the deadly virus. We couldn’t have done it without the support of our partner clinicians, community services or funders. On a completely different note, the Queensland Medical Students’ Council held a fabulous cocktail event on our behalf, to help raise money to support our ongoing work. A big thanks to Jeremy, Allie, Nikhil and the rest of their team for helping bring it all together!
We were also lucky enough to be invited to join the Gold Coast COVID-19 Working Group by the Queensland Council of Social Service, to both learn from the COVID-19 vaccination rollout for vulnerable groups at the Gold Coast, as well as share our learnings from Brisbane Clinics. As we expand our services to the Gold Coast next year, we made many valuable connections and look forward to continuing to work with such passionate and talented teams.
Varun, our Chief Research Officer, has been working on a scoping review around influenza vaccination in vulnerable populations with the rest of the research team. The first publications emerging from this joint initiative with Griffith University researchers should come out early next year, as well as original research towards the end of next year. In the back-half of November, we started planning for 2022, sharing important discussions with several Public Health Networks, national corporations and not-for-profit organisations and other key stakeholders.
We hope to produce a clear strategic guidance document outlining our goals for 2022 in January. On top of this, there is a lot more exciting work going on behind the scenes to help The VacSeenProject become a more professional organisation. Given where we’ve come from to where we are now, we truly believe that 2022 will be even more exciting, and that we can really magnify the impact we are having to support vulnerable populations to access preventative healthcare.
Until next time,
The VacSeen Project Team