News & Events

Taking up the vaccination message

October 12, 2021

Emerge staff have either had their second covid vaccination, or have booked their second vaccination.

Paula Westhead, Emerge’s Executive Officer, said she was proud of the team and their commitment to protect themselves and the women and children they support.

“We are all aware of the importance of immunisation in keeping us safe,” Paula said.

“We lead by example, and because we are vaccinated it opens up the opportunity to talk about the virus, the importance of vaccination and getting tested.”

Emerge has partnered with Glen Eira Council which is sending their public health team to the refuge to immunise women and young people eligible for the vaccination.

“We have had relatively good take-up by women and strong take-up by the young people we support,” Paula said.

She said the personal service had been instrumental in providing correct facts about the vaccine and other Covid-19 information to women, many of whom had received misinformation about the virus.

Paula is supportive of the current campaign to equip vaccination clinics with family violence support staff, and to put on specialised hotlines about where to find support.

“We know that some vulnerable women have been disclosing their abuse at vaccine appointments because it is one of the few times they are able to leave their homes and abusive partners,” Paula said.

She said that family violence matters have become more complex over lockdown – requiring more time and support – as people’s housing and financial struggles have worsened.

“We know from many of the women we are supporting that when an adult child returns home after losing employment, conflict escalates,” Paula said.

“The number of women accessing our domestic and family violence services increases every year. However, the impact of the pandemic on families has increased the complexity of matters.”.

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