Just for once, it would be utterly awesome if we took some advice from First Nations people.
If we copied what they did in this urgent circumstance, we would be better off. Now listen up Scott Morrison, Greg Hunt and all the state premiers and chief ministers.
We have a serious problem with the rate of vaccination in this country. It's too slow, and poorly targeted. There's not enough vaccine, and too much anxiety.
But one First Nations health leader - and a group of connected elders (and not-so-elders) have it sorted.
Earlier this year, between the famous Barbecue Man (who visited a number of outdoor cooking venues when he unknowingly had Covid) and Limo Driver (an early carrier of the Delta variant), I pelted to Warmun in the Kimberley, to catch up on a cancelled holiday. It's famous for so much - including powerful artists like the late Rover Thomas and Queenie McKenzie, or the very much still alive Mabel Juli and Shirley Purdie. Just 10 years ago, a torrential storm swept away much of the community's buildings and its art.
Now it should be famous for its extraordinary vaccination rate.
As Jane Halton, the former head of the federal Department of Health and current chair of the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness, told the ABC's Fran Kelly on Wednesday, Indigenous communities should have been prioritised in the vaccine rollout. They weren't.
That didn't stop Warmun. The doctor in charge of the vaccine rollout claims around 90 per cent of Warmun's tiny community is vaccinated, and that number is set to rise. Weeks ago, they could have told Halton what she now knows - the rollout in First Nations communities must be led by First Nations people.
"Local people talking to local people to deal with their fears," said Halton to Kelly.
Catherine Engelke, a Gija woman, was born and bred in the Kimberley. Now a doctor and married with kids, she loves it there. And the way she persuaded the community, along with community chair Madeline Purdie (daughter of the more famous Shirley), to get the jab is a lesson for all of us. Purdie drove the bus on the first day of vaccinations, elders on board.
They decided there was one event in the Warmun calendar to which everyone would come - the school sports carnival. The kids were there, so their parents, grandparents, uncles and aunties were as well. So, too, was the medical team.
"They mingled and talked. There was a lot of resistance to the idea of the vaccine until they knew Dr Nagada [Engelke's Gija name] was coming down. They trusted what I was saying," Engelke says.
She decided to take a different tack to what we hear in the city. She didn't focus too much on Covid deaths. Indigenous communities already understand death. Instead, she talked about Covid's gifts, what it leaves behind if you survive: scarring in the brain, seizures, long-lasting lung and heart problems.
She told the community: "If you die, that's unfortunate for you, devastating for the community. But if you live, Covid doesn't leave you as it finds you."
Engelke says knowledge is power, and of course it is. But who better than the community's doctor, from those same First Nations lands, to explain the right information?
"You cannot provide Covid vaccinations without a healthcare worker the community trusts. Our medical literacy and our understanding of medical healthcare are poor, not just in Aboriginal populations," she says.
"What are vaccinations? A lot of people don't know what we are trying to achieve with vaccines, so it was easy for misinformation and poor information to spread, because they didnt have much knowledge to start with."
So big talks happened. Engelke spoke to individuals and groups. There was no cultural conflict between or among the different groupings. On the first day the vaccinations were offered, she told everyone who had the jab: "If there are people in the community who haven't come, bring them back."
The next day, there was a young lad who'd come for his first jab the day before. He had brought five more people. Engelke told the group: "You owe this man your life. He shared his knowledge by ensuring you are vaccinated."
Warmun is a spike of hope in the terrible vaccination rates in this country. In the Kimberley, the land which surrounds Warmun, the rates are poor too - about 20 per cent have had the first jab and 12 per cent the second. Australia-wide, only Victoria has hit the target for Indigenous vaccinations.
But Engelke took an approach based on getting people on board with what vaccination does. She told the community they needed to listen to what doctors said, and to be sceptical of other forms of information. And she reminded the community about the terrible misinformation spread about Aboriginal people.
"If what people say about us is not correct, then what you hear about the vaccine is not correct," she said.
And she added humour to make her point. Not only was she vaccinated, her husband was also vaccinated. She told the community: "I've been with my husband for 33 years, you reckon I would risk him now he is almost right?"
Yes, of course, this is a rollout model for other Indigenous communities. But it's a model which would work in every single community across Australia. It doesn't have to be remote communities, or even regional. This approach, information straight from a trusted local leader, is the way to go. It worked in Maningrida in the Northern Territory, where 65 per cent of the community got vaccinated in three days. It would work as well in the Barossa Valley with Maggie Beer as in Kambah with Ken Behrens at the helm.
As Engelke says, don't play politics. Talk to people.
- Jenna Price is a visiting fellow at the Australian National University and a regular columnist.