Disability groups play part in COVID-19 vaccine rollout
7 June 2021 at 5:41 pm
Charity-run vaccine hubs for people with disability are opening across the country
Disability charities are stepping up to play a part in Australia’s vaccine rollout, opening hubs across the country to help people with disability and their support staff get vaccinated.
Partnering with the federal government, charities such as Life Without Barriers (LWB) and Scope Australia have opened vaccination hubs across Melbourne, Perth, South Australia, and New South Wales, with more locations and providers to be announced.
They’ll provide accessible places for National Disability Insurance Scheme participants who are eligible for the vaccine under phase 1, as well as their carers and support workers, to get the jab.
LWB said the people they supported would be able to receive the vaccine as early as this week, while Scope Australia’s hub is fully booked for the week ahead.
With Australia’s national vaccine rollout taking longer than expected, LWB CEO Claire Robbs said that it was critical people with disability and their carers were vaccinated as soon as possible.
“The COVID pandemic has been a major concern for everyone with disability and LWB has been clear on our intention to support efforts to ensure people with disability and disability support workers can be vaccinated,” Robbs said.
She told Pro Bono News that offering up their resources and expertise to help with the rollout was the best way to see the people they supported vaccinated.
“We work with people with disability everyday and we are in a good position to work with them and their families to understand what support they need to feel comfortable and informed to get the vaccine,” she said.
“It’s about ensuring the people we support are informed about the vaccine, are supported to understand the reasons behind it and then are able to physically be in a setting where they are comfortable and not anxious or stressed in order to receive the vaccine.”
It’s been an exhausting 18 months for people with disabilities and the people that support them, with fears at the beginning of the pandemic that the health and disability sectors were underprepared for the crisis.
A targeted plan to help manage and prevent the transmission of COVID-19 for people with disability was then released by the federal government in April 2020.
Last week, health department figures from Senate estimates revealed that just 355 of the more than 22,000 people with disabilities living in residential settings had been fully vaccinated.
Federal Minister for the NDIS, Linda Reynolds, said on Friday however that since the start of June, nearly 38,000 NDIS participants had received at least one dose of the vaccine, an increase of approximately 6,600 since 25 May 2021.