Covid-19 in Australia: Vaccine misinformation targets Aboriginal people

Vaccine misinformation shared online has targeted a new population: Australian Aboriginals.
Vaccine misinformation shared online has targeted a new population: Australian Aboriginals. © Observers

Are Australian indigenous populations the victims of forced vaccination and locked up in camps if they refuse? That’s what some of these anti-vaccine social media accounts would have you believe. They’ve been sharing videos claiming that Australian Aboriginals are being victimised by the country’s Covid-19 restrictions. But that’s not the case. We’ll tell you why in this episode of Truth or Fake.


One of these videos shows people wearing tribal attire pointing bows and arrows at police officers. The post claims that these are Aboriginal people responding to forced vaccination.

In another video, an Australian couple claim to show a “prison” that has been set up for unvaccinated people. The same video was shared by another account claiming that this would be the fate of 90 percent of Aboriginal people who fail to get the jab.

But these videos actually have nothing to do with Australia’s indigenous populations. The first video with bows and arrows actually comes from a protest in Brazil in 2019 – so before the Covid-19 pandemic.

And the video of the prison? It actually shows the Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation Centre, a detention centre for migrants. The centre was expanded between 2017 and 2019 before the pandemic began.

John Paterson, the CEO of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance for Australia’s Northern Territory, condemned this misinformation in an interview with a local radio station. 

And Luke Ellis, an Aboriginal medical professional, published a thread on Twitter to respond to the allegations that unvaccinated Aboriginals would be put in camps.


Some Aboriginal people themselves share this kind of misinformation, but it also comes from all over the world. American, British and French accounts have all shared misinformation about vaccines as well as false information about the Australian government’s treatment of Aboriginal people.