In response to COVID-19 , the NCCTRC developed a small rapidly deployable workforce of nurses and allied health professionals with the focus on primary health and vaccination to support domestic outbreaks.
The AUSMAT led Rapid Response Team (RRT), can be deployed nationally to support provide vaccination, swabbing and contact tracing.
RRT Manager Rhiannon Winter anticipates the team will expand the organisation’s in-house capability and bolster domestic response over the coming year.
“We have been fortunate to have attracted a highly experienced group of clinicians, two are AUSMAT trained and all have recent experience in dealing with COVID-19, as well as other complementary skill sets,” Ms Winter said.
Over the course of the last two years, NCCTRC and AUSMAT have responded to 18 COVID-19 related deployments, both internationally and in Australia.
“AUSMAT have worked tirelessly with back-to-back missions over the last few years, our RRT are able to respond independently or embed within a broader AUSMAT mission. I predict they will become an asset here on home soil, Ms Winter said
The decision to establish the RRT comes as a result of AUSMAT’s successful domestic deployment to West and Far Western New South Wales, Australia, where the Alpha and Bravo teams responded to COVID-19 outbreaks in remote Indigenous communities and implemented rapid vaccination programs through mobile outreach, walk-in and pop-up clinics.
“Indigenous communities have been really strong and resourceful throughout the pandemic, and all of the AUSMAT members deployed had experience working in rural and remote Australia. We needed to increase vaccination rates across regional and remote communities, and focussed on those people who were hardest to reach,” Alpha Mission Lead Dr Tarun Weramanthri told ABC Newcastle.
Working alongside Local Health Districts, the Australian Defence Force and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, AUSMAT contributed to providing 2,510 COVID-19 vaccinations across Western and Far Western New South Wales.
So far, the RRT have responded to two domestic requests, including sending a senior advisory team to the remote Northern Territory community of Galiwin’ku to provide recommendations on mid and long-term strategies to protect the community against COVID-19.