COVID-19 Vaccines in Australia
The Australia Government has invested more than $3.3 billion in promising vaccine candidates, and it has recently been announced that the first round of COVID-19 vaccinations will begin later this month. Pfizer is the only vaccine approved in Australia currently and will require two doses, given at least 21 days apart.
COVID-19 vaccine will be offered voluntarily and free to everyone in Australia, although there has been some confusion in the community over who’s next in line for COVID-19 vaccine, especially from people with disabilities, their families and support workers. The Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccines webpage links to important and up to date information about the vaccine. This is what we already know about The Australian National Rollout Strategy.
COVID-19 Vaccines roll-out
The Australian Government aims to have as many people vaccinated as possible in 2021. Vaccines become available in phases, they will be offered to people who are most in need of protection first, following the order below from the National Rollout Strategy.
- Quarantine and border workers
- Frontline health care workers
- Aged care and disability care staff
- Aged care and disability care residents.
- People with disability living in residential support settings and staff working in these residential support settings
- Adults aged 80 years and over
- Adults aged 70-79 years
- Other health care workers
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 55
- Younger adults with an underlying medical condition, including those with a disability
- Critical and high risk workers.
- Younger adults with an underlying medical condition, including those with a disability, and other health care workers will be eligible to receive the vaccine.
- Adults aged 60-69 years
- Adults aged 50-59 years
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 18-54
- Other critical and high risk workers.
- Other adults
- Any unvaccinated people from previous phases.
Children under 16 who are not a member of any of the above groups will only be vaccinated if recommended.
Where to get your COVID-19 vaccine
Many residents and workers in aged and disability care facilities will receive their vaccinations at the facility provided by vaccination teams, managed by the Australian Government. Other places which eventually will offer vaccinations are: GP respiratory clinics, general practices that meet specific requirements,
Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services, state-run vaccination clinics, and pharmacies.
COVID-19 vaccines are voluntary
Even though vaccination is voluntary, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is a safe and effective way of protecting you, your family and the community. However if you decide not to get the COVID-19 vaccine, your disability service provider or support worker must continue providing support and if they decide otherwise it could be a breach of the NDIS Code of Conduct (NDIS Providers) and in this case you can make a complaint to the NDIS Commission.
Another possible scenario is when your support worker does not wish to be vaccinated, and if this is an issue for you, the service provider will need to consult with you to make alternative arrangements for your support.