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‘It was the fear factor’: Vaccine push at Sydney public housing estate

27 September, 2021 By Megan Gorrey

Bundjalung man Raymond King says fear prompted him to change his mind about getting vaccinated against COVID-19, as he watched cases rise among residents of his neighbourhood in Sydney’s inner south.

“It was the fear factor, that’s the honest truth. In all honesty, I was against [the vaccine]. I was against for a long time because I believe in keeping myself healthy and all natural,” Mr King said.

“I was just scared. I was scared of the side effects, and from the bad publicity that got into my head, that got into everyone’s heads.”

Mr King was among residents who got jabbed at a pop-up clinic at the Waterloo public housing estate after health authorities detected a rising number of COVID-19 cases among tenants in Redfern and Waterloo.

The Reverend Bill Crews Foundation and Aspen Medical set up the Pfizer vaccine clinic, for residents aged 12 to 59, outside the estate’s 30-storey Turanga building.

Mr King, who lives in Redfern-Waterloo, said he was motivated by the increasing number of coronavirus cases in the area and his desire to set an example for his nine children.

“It’s getting serious around here. The past two days I’ve been walking around the park, umm-ing and ahh-ing about it, and I just woke up today and went that’s it, and went and got it.

“If people don’t start taking responsibility, we’re going to get stuck in this time warp of who is vaccinated, who isn’t vaccinated. I can’t wait to buy a new pair of shoes, I want to get a haircut. It’s the little things.

“Today was about me and my family leading the way.”

Celebrity chef Kylie Kwong teamed up with Aboriginal elder Aunty Beryl Van-Oploo to cook a meal of braised beef brisket with jasmine rice, native Warrigal greens and bush mint, grown at an Indigenous rooftop garden near her Lukcy Kwong eatery in South Eveleigh, to provide to residents getting their jabs.

The project was also supported by Sydney lord mayoral candidate Yvonne Weldon, a Wiradjuri woman, and the Addison Road Community Organisation, which distributed care packs to tenants.

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