Graphic: COVID 19: Responding to need

COVID 19: Responding to Need

Date published

03 Sep 2021

The RFDS continues to be part of the national pandemic response, working closely with the Commonwealth, Aboriginal Medical Services, Primary Health Networks, Local Hospital Districts and State governments.

RFDS is running a community-led vaccination program to isolated and remote communities across Australia.  

To date 22,215 COVID-19 vaccinations have been given in remote communities across the country.  About 45% of these vaccinations are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Australians. 

Over recent weeks critical action continues to protect Western NSW communities where in addition to remote communities, the RFDS have been called in to assist PHNs and Aboriginal Medical Services to rapidly get communities vaccinated as hotspots have continued to spread. Meanwhile the vaccination of other remote communities around the country continues at full speed.

Between September and December 2021 there are more than 600 RFDS vaccination clinic days scheduled, across 152 different remote communities. We are expecting to vaccinate over 50,000 remote Australians by the end of the year.

Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, the RFDS has conducted 3,315 patients ‘episodes of care’ (ie. transported to tertiary care) for confirmed or high suspected COVID-19. Over the same period the RFDS has conducted 191 Respiratory Clinics in remote areas, where we have seen 472 patients.

vaccination map
Indigenous Australian in the Kimberley gets vaccinated for COVID19

If you have questions about what the Corona Virus COVID-19 is, what the symptoms are, how it spreads, or what local state restrictions mean for you personally, you can learn more at the Department of Health website and Healthdirect Australia website.  The Healthdirect Australia Pregnancy, Birth and Baby website also includes COVID-19 information for pregnancy and parenting and their Maternal Child Health Nurses are equipped for COVID-19 questions from anxious parents, via video call or phone 1800 882 436.

If you are unsure on what COVID restrictions are in your state or territory, you can get the latest information using the COVID Restriction Checker to find out what you can or can't do.

The RFDS has factsheets on prevention, symptoms and what to do if you feel you may have COVID-19. These can be downloaded below.

Prevention of COVID-19

Prevention of COVID-19

COVID-19 Symptoms

COVID-19 Symptoms

Maybe I have COVID-19

Maybe I have COVID-19


First Nations Peoples

The National Justice Project, National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) and UTS Jumbunna have worked together to clarify and communicate restrictions relating to COVID-19 activities for First Nations people living in remote communities across the country to ensure that those living in these communities are aware of their rights under the lockdown measures, as they currently stand. 

 Their fact sheets summarise the various public health directions issued as a result of the pandemic in each State and Territory and address the stricter measures being imposed on Indigenous Australians living in remote communities, including

  • Caring for Elders
  • Community events including Sorry business and funerals
  • Restricted movement in and out of remote communities
  • Police enforcement powers and penalties and how best to respond to police requests