COVID-19 vaccination program for vulnerable populations: specific targeted activities



Funding Amount

October 2021 to December 2023


All suburbs within NWMPHN



The Australian Government provided Primary Health Networks with flexible funding support for innovative, local, short-term activities to increase COVID-19 vaccinations among at-risk populations.

The funding was for distinct, time-limited local projects that identified an at-risk group not accessing vaccines through existing mechanisms. The intent was to capitalise on established and trusted relationships with at-risk populations and people who could not or did not wish to attend other vaccination sites.

The grants were designed to quickly boost numbers in communities where:

  • vaccination rates were low
  • there were significant risks associated with COVID-19 transmission
  • we could reach as many patients as possible in a short period.

To meet these objectives, NWMPHN conceived and operated its specific targeted activities, GP engagement, and homebound vaccination programs. Read on for more information on each.

Priority populations

Priority populations are defined as people:

  • aged over 50
  • with chronic or complex conditions
  • of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage
  • from culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities
  • with alcohol or drug dependency
  • who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • with a cervix and of childbearing age
  • who cannot leave home because of disability, frailty, or a significant mental health condition
  • live in a residential aged care facility
  • distrust or fear of government programs
  • experiencing or at risk of homelessness

Partners and outcomes

North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network partnered with local primary care providers and a health promotion charity to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Active Medical, Caroline Springs administered 175 vaccinations to refugees, and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people
  • cohealth (Footscray) administered 151 vaccinations to refugees, people experiencing homelessness, and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) people
  • cohealth (Kensington) administered 153 vaccinations to refugees and CALD people, especially young people and women in the Somali Australian community
  • Interconnect Healthcare offered vaccinations for people experiencing homelessness through coordination with a food outreach service
  • Merri Outreach Support Service assisted 106 people experiencing homelessness to access vaccinations (through transport support)
  • Preston Doctors Clinic administered 1,015 vaccinations for Muslim women in a dedicated private room with a female immuniser
  • Utopia Refugee and Asylum Seeker Health administered 151 vaccinations to refugees and asylum seekers
  • The Victorian Aboriginal Health Service administered 1,257 vaccinations to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients
  • The Water Well Project delivered 4 successful health and vaccine education sessions with a total of 34 participants from culturally and linguistically diverse and refugee groups.