Winter readiness tools for CALD patients

Morgan Liotta

14/06/2022 3:14:05 PM

Translated resources on COVID and flu vaccinations have been added to support GPs caring for patients who speak a first language other than English.

GP with CALD patients
GPs have access to a suite of translated vaccination resources they can offer to patients who may not speak English.

Winter has arrived and with the cold weather settling in to many parts of Australia, coupled with relaxed public health restrictions, a spike in flu and COVID cases is already being seen.
For culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) populations, access to translated information on staying up to date with COVID-19 and influenza vaccines is an important part of public and preventive health measures.
A lack of access to reliable information in different languages has been linked to COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in Australian CALD communities, while an examination of  COVID-related deaths suggests a need for more support.
The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that people born overseas have an age-standardised death rate over two and a half times that of those who were born in Australia (12.3 deaths per 100,000 people versus 4.8 deaths).
According to Dr Kate Walker, GP and CALD Communities COVID-19 Health Advisory Group member, public health messages ‘may not always reach’ members of CALD communities, which is where GPs are key.
‘GPs are seen as key trusted sources of health information for CALD communities,’ Dr Walker told newsGP.
‘In addition, there are many community groups working funded by state and federal governments to promote COVID-19 vaccine uptake in CALD communities.’ 
To further assist GPs in ensuring their CALD patients are protected this winter, the Department of Health (DoH) has updated its COVID-19 resources for multicultural speakers with a ‘winter preparedness’ pack.
The pack contains in-language communication resources, including posters, social tiles and fact sheets, with information on staying up to date with COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations this season, as well as eligibility for COVID-19 winter doses.
Dr Walker said that translated resources are updated monthly and available as ‘stakeholder packs’ for healthcare providers to communicate and share information with CALD communities. 
‘These additional translated resources can support CALD patients to be ready for winter, particularly around how to be up to date with their vaccinations,’ she said.
New additions build on the existing tools, which include translated resources around managing CALD patients who test positive to COVID-19.
‘I’ve been working on the CALD Advisory Group for more than 12 months now, and they have developed many more resources for supporting CALD communities,’ Dr Walker said.
‘With this there has been a huge volume of translated audio and video resources on COVID-19 vaccines and living with COVID-19, which I suspect many GPs are not aware of.
‘These are being added to the DoH website … and GPs can share them with their patients.’
The new in-language COVID-19 vaccine information kits include resources with key information on COVID-19 vaccines, including:

  • updates to the vaccine rollout
  • booster doses and third doses for immunocompromised people
  • information on pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccines
  • videos featuring community members explaining the importance of getting vaccinated
  • videos featuring doctors answering questions about COVID-19 vaccines.
Dr Walker also reminds GPs about the new vaccine booking call-back service, Easy Vaccine Access (EVA) which can assist CALD patients.
‘The EVA service helps GPs to book in hard-to-reach patients for their COVID-19 vaccines,’ she said. 
‘GPs can text of behalf of their patients and the service will ring the patients at a recommended time with interpreters if needed.
‘A reminder also that the national COVID-19 24-hour hotline has a priority line to access interpreters.’ 
The RACGP recently developed a Winter Planning Toolkit to help general practices keep their staff and patients protected.
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