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



Funding Amount

October 2021 to January 2022












The Australian Government provided Primary Health Network’s with flexible funding support for innovative, local, short-term activities to increase COVID-19 vaccinations among vulnerable populations.

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

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

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

Priority populations

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 12 to 39
  • Culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse people
  • People with alcohol and/or drug dependency
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women and women of childbearing age
  • People with disability, people who are frail and people with a significant mental health condition who cannot leave home
  • People with a distrust or fear of government programs.

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.