Community health services connecting and protecting our most vulnerable

July 26, 2021

Victoria’s community health services have been leading engagement with our most vulnerable community members during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, as the state government ramps up its vaccination program, community health services in the C-19 network are launching pop-up clinics to vaccinate people experiencing homeless and disadvantage.

Mobile vaccination teams will be deployed to homelessness services, drop-in centres, crisis accommodation facilities, and rooming houses. Importantly, the teams include people with lived experience of homelessness and disadvantage.

Community health services are already engaged with many of these communities through the High Risk Accommodation Response (HRAR) Program, which delivers outreach health and social care to people living in settings associated with an increased risk of COVID-19 transmission.

A number of HRAR Lead Providers are already providing COVID-19 testing, vaccine information and access support to residents, and delivering targeted and meaningful vaccination campaigns to their local communities.

The pop-up vaccination and HRAR programs are funded by the Victorian government and the VHA believes it is vital that this funding and support for community health services continues.

‘The rollout of this targeted vaccination program via the C-19 network is another demonstration of value of our community health services in Victoria’s pandemic response,’ VHA’s CEO, Tom Symondson, said.

‘These services have a deep understanding of, and connections with, their communities, which the Victorian government has leveraged over the past 18 months.’

‘There is an opportunity to extend the approach to the ongoing management of acute and chronic disease, as well as mental health, well beyond the pandemic,’ he said.

A recent VHA report details the vast array of service adaptations and innovations implemented by community health services during 2020, as well as opportunities to better integrate the sector’s capabilities into the wider Victorian healthcare system.

The C-19 network comprises five community health services: CoHealth, DPV Health, EACH, IPC Health, and Star Health.