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COVID-19 information letting down international students, non-English speakers

Many international students and temporary visa holders are struggling to grapple with information about the COVID-19 vaccine situation here in the ACT.

Chinese student Dahlia is a recent graduate from the Australian National University (ANU) who currently works in a department store while on a student-dependent visa. She says that many non-English speakers like her are relying on news from China about what is happening in Australia regarding vaccines.

“Many are unsure about which vaccine is right for them – AstraZeneca or Pfizer – whether they’re even eligible, and how to go about getting it,” she said.

Most of the information the local Chinese community are getting is trickling through social media platforms such as WeChat, Chinese community organisations, or news websites that translate articles for the Mandarin-speaking community, such as RiotACT China. Student unions at the ANU and University of Canberra (UC) also try to keep their international students in the loop.

Dahlia says the official government sources aren’t very helpful for those who struggle with English, even with good news such as vaccine eligibility.

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