• A Beagle Bay community member receives a coronavirus vaccine in the Kimberley region. (AAP)Source: AAP
Just 21.86 per cent of the First Nations population aged over 16 has been fully vaccinated.
Source:
AAP
3 Sep 2021 - 6:50 PM  UPDATED 3 Sep 2021 - 6:50 PM

Up to 30 First Nations communities across Australia could receive a rapid surge in coronavirus vaccinations as part of a bid to drive up poor immunisation rates.

The national rollout has been savaged for leaving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people behind.

Just 21.86 per cent of the Indigenous population aged over 16 has been fully vaccinated, while 39 per cent have received their first dose.

In some remote communities, rates are as low as seven per cent.

Australia has fully vaccinated 36.43 per cent of the wider population while 60.53 have received one dose.

Vaccine rollout co-ordinator John Frewen will on Friday unveil a plan to accelerate Indigenous vaccinations at a meeting of state and territory leaders.

10 remote and 20 non-remote communities with the greatest vaccination gaps have been selected to be involved, but the locations have not been revealed yet. 

Pat Turner and Dawn Casey from the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation have worked on the plan.

The proposed surge would involve community leaders and Indigenous ambassadors over the next four weeks.

The federal government has been blasted for failing to ensure Indigenous vaccination rates were higher despite being in a high-priority phase of the six-month-old rollout.

Labor's Indigenous Australians spokeswoman Linda Burney said the plan to ramp up efforts in 30 communities was too little, too late.

"This is an admission the government completely stuffed up the First Nations vaccine rollout - a group they said would be a priority - and who are now lagging behind," she said.

Ms Burney believes hesitancy is not an excuse for the federal government.

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said some communities had experienced incredible mistrust of vaccines because of dangerous conspiracies and misinformation.

"All those things are playing out in the most remote communities and it's a tragedy," he said.

'It's very alarming': Indigenous communities trail wider population in vaccine drive
The first figures publicly released by the federal government reveal a yawning divide in vaccination rates in cities and regional areas and significant lagging in some states, particularly Western Australia.