COVID-19 vaccination programs for at-risk populations


October 2021 to December 2023

Funding Amount:




Melbourne Macedon Ranges Yarra Moonee Valley Darebin Maribyrnong Hobsons Bay Wyndham Brimbank Moorabool Melton Hume Merri-bek


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 vaccination 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
  • Specific targeted activities program

    Status: Completed

    Funding amount: $442,000

    Duration: October 2021 to December 2022

    Locations: Brimbank, Darebin, Hume, Hobsons Bay, Melbourne, Merri-bek, Maribyrnong, Melton, Wyndham, Yarra

    Partners and outcomes

    NWMPHN partnered with local primary care providers and a health promotion charity to achieve these outcomes:

    Stage 1: October 2021 – January 2022

    • Active Medical, Caroline Springs administered 175 vaccinations to refugees, and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people
    • cohealth (Footscray) administered 151 vaccinations to refugees, people experiencing homelessness, and CALD residents
    • cohealth (Kensington) administered 153 vaccinations to refugees and CALD residents, especially young people and women in the Somali Australian community
    • Interconnect Healthcare, through coordination with a food outreach service, offered vaccinations for people experiencing homelessness
    • Merri Outreach Support Service provided transport to vaccination sites for 106 people experiencing homelessness
    • Preston Doctors Clinic administered 1,015 vaccinations for Muslim women in a dedicated private room, using 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.

    Stage 2: October 2022 – December 2022

    • cohealth (Footscray) administered 63 vaccinations to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people, LGBTIQ+ people, refugees, women and children experiencing homelessness, youth, people experiencing mental health issues and CALD residents.
    • DPV administered 60 vaccinations to CALD residents, refugees, children, people experiencing homelessness and disengaged community members.
    • IPC Health administered 76 vaccinations to refugees, CALD residents, and people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
    • Your Community Health administered 85 vaccinations to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people, CALD residents, refugees, people experiencing homelessness, those without a Medicare Card or with distrust or fear of government programs.
    • Utopia Refugee & Asylum Seeker Health provided education and vaccination services to CALD residents and asylum-seekers. The program will run until December, 2023.
  • GP proactive engagement program

    Status: Completed

    Funding amount: $510,750

    Duration: July 2022 to October 2022

    Locations: NWMPHN region

    Partners and outcomes

    NWMPHN partnered with 97 general practices to:

    • Conduct database searches to identify patients at risk of poor outcomes if they contracted COVID-19.
    • Contact a minimum of 150 patients by phone.
    • Conduct phone screening and organise follow-up appointments.
    • Provide COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations.
    • Develop winter treatment plans for consenting patients.
    Patients identified on database search 75,196
    SMS sent 14,711
    Patients contacted by phone 20,079
    Patient screenings 20,915
    Patients scheduled for a follow-up appointment for either a vaccination or a GP consult 8,418
    COVID-19 vaccines administered 7,545
    Influenza vaccines administered 4,910
    Winter preparedness plans completed 4,573
  • Homebound vaccination program

    Status: Active

    Funding amount: $580,000

    Duration: November 2021 – December 2023

    Locations: NWMPHN region

    Partners and outcomes

    NWMPHN partnered with providers to visit homebound residents and residential aged care facilities (RACFs) to administer COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations. Where appropriate, housemates and carers were also vaccinated.

    Provider Homebound residents RACFs residents and staff  Total vaccines administered 
    Hume Medical Centre 38 0 38
    Advantage Pharmacy Maidstone 270 87 357
    OSD Care 594 422 1,016
    Total 902 509 1,411