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First published Tuesday 21 June 2022.

Populations who have either a higher burden from vaccine preventable diseases tend to have lower and fewer opportunities to access good quality health care. I have been focusing on culturally and linguistically diverse populations, as you said. We had an amazing focus group about the COVID vaccine with women from this community last year. The conversations we had identified that they tend to be willing to get a vaccine, but just have been left behind in communication efforts. Which is so disappointing.

I'm also focusing on working with the Aboriginal community here in Perth in particular to increase vaccine rates in children. Because there's quite a big gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children living in Perth in terms of vaccine uptake. Compared with national statistics Aboriginal children in WA have the lowest uptake.

We have been conducting yarning groups with Aboriginal adults in Perth. This project we are focussing on what they think about the COVID vaccine for themselves and their children. All our research aims to be delivered in a culturally appropriate way, and really just listening to what the community wants from research. We have employed an amazing Aboriginal research assistant, Paige, who connects with the community, and is integral in explaining what our research is going to be about and garner community support.

Paige has been leading the community consultation process as well, there is just more and more demand for this type of work to be done. Therefore, I secured this funding to support her.

I hope this support helps build Paige’s career as well, through this increase in responsibility she will be able to access more professional development opportunities and build her network.

I think Paige herself is so rare and she has taught me so much already in the last nine months that she's been working with us and I don't want her to go anywhere from Telethon Kids.

She has ambitions to do a Masters or PhD in Infectious Diseases and I really want to be heard. That’s what happened with me when I was a more junior, I had people around me to really help.

I want to be able to do the same for people who really show passion and commitment to their work.

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Simmone Sharp

Simmone Sharp
Philanthropy Manager - Major Gifts