An Aboriginal man in New South Wales (NSW) became the first Indigenous person in Australia to die from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
Western NSW Local Health District Chief Executive Scott McLachlan confirmed that an Aboriginal man in his 50s died in a hospital in the city of Dubbo on Aug. 30.
McLachlan told reporters that the man was unvaccinated.
The man was also the first death linked to the growing outbreak in western NSW.
At the beginning of the national vaccine rollout, Aboriginal people belonged in the priority group.
However, according to an analysis by the Australian website of British global newspaper The Guardian, non-Indigenous people in four local health district areas in NSW were vaccinated at over twice the rate of Indigenous people.
Member of Parliament and Labor Party Leader Anthony Albanese said on Twitter that only 9% of the Indigenous population of Dubbo is fully vaccinated, describing it as “an abject failure” from the government of Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Indigenous Australians Shadow Minister Linda Burney said in a report by ABC Australia that the federal government had since March 2020 to prepare for the “inevitable” situation.
“I am laying it squarely at the feet of the federal government… they knew this was going to happen and did nothing to prevent it,” Burney said.
Burney expressed that she was “terribly afraid” that the Dubbo man’s death “will be the first death of many.”
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