Vax rollout 'mugged' in remote parts of NT

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Shipping containers and meatworks could be used as mass mortuaries in a worst-case scenario COVID-19 outbreak in the Northern Territory, Chief Health Officer Hugh Heggie says.

The warning comes as the vaccination rollout lags in dozens of remote Aboriginal communities amid an ongoing misinformation campaign on social media.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner says the rollout has been "mugged" by the campaigners and unvaccinated people could die if the Delta variant makes it to the territory.

"At the end of the day, with all the best information, with all the goodwill, with all the repeated attempts, there are some people, in some communities, who have said 'no' to the jab, and could keep saying 'no'," he told reporters on Wednesday.

"We can't hold people down and stick the needle in their arm. It is their choice, and some are choosing against it."

Data published by the NT government shows vaccine uptake is lagging in 33 of the 51 communities.

The is no data for another 33 where the commonwealth is managing the vaccine rollout, with Mr Gunner saying the NT is "flying blind" in those communities.

Some, like Alpurrurulam in the Barkly region and Ikuntji in Central Australia, have first-dose rates below 15 per cent.

Many others have double-dose rates well below 40 per cent.

Dr Heggie says the situation has become serious as he asked "who is going to take responsibility for the first Aboriginal death (in the NT)".

"I know some of the influencers and they are from the US anti-vax lobby and faith organisations," he said.

"They are using social media, particularly in Aboriginal communities."

Dr Heggie warns that if vaccination rates remain low, the only way to save lives will be further travel restrictions in remote areas.

NT Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker said the virus could reappear in the NT at any time and it was possible unvaccinated Aboriginal Territorians could pay a heavy toll.

"Delta is mobile," he said.

"We are far too vast as a jurisdiction to prevent its entry long term."

Mr Gunner cited Yuendumu, in Central Australia, as an example of a community where the rollout was lagging.

Health workers have visited the community of 700 people six times since the rollout started in the NT, but few residents have had a jab.

Meetings have been held with leaders and elders and vaccine information has been provided in the local language, along with vaccination incentives.

"Despite all of these blitz efforts, despite the fact the vaccine has been sitting in the fridge there for months, just 20 per cent of eligible people in Yuendumu have received their first shot," Mr Gunner said.

"It is just an unfortunate reality that some Territorians, across the whole territory, have been mugged by misinformation."

Overall, 61 per cent of people in remote areas of the territory have had their first vaccine dose, with 46 per cent fully vaccinated.

Across the NT, 78 per cent of people have had their first vaccine dose and 65 per cent are fully vaccinated

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