The following information has been provided by the Department of Health.
When is the COVID-19 vaccine available?
The Australian Government Department of Health is commencing phase 1a of the vaccine roll out to people with disability and workers in residential accommodation as of 22 February 2021. To learn more about the various phases of the vaccine roll out, click here.
Where can I find more information about the vaccine in regards to people with disabilities?
There is an Australian Government Department of Health dedicated web page for people with disability about the COVID-19 vaccine. Chick here to access this webpage.
Who is eligible for phase 1a of the vaccine roll out?
A person with disability living in residential accommodation (in settings with two or more people with a disability only)
A paid worker providing support to people living in residential accommodation with two or more people with a disability.
How much will the vaccine cost?
The COVID-19 vaccine is free and voluntary to the eligible parties of each phase.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ATAGI) has developed a collection of resources to help health professionals, providers and people receiving the vaccination in providing informed consent. Click here to read more.
On the 16th of February, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for use in Australia. Click here to learn more about this vaccine.
Are there any indications that COVID-19 vaccines will not be suitable for people with disability?
All medicines, including vaccines, have risks and benefits. Usually, any side effects are mild and may only last a few days.
Through clinical trials, some of the temporary side effects reported for the COVID-19 vaccine are normal such as pain at the injection site, fever or muscle aches.
The person providing your vaccination will be provided further clinical information and training about the COVID-19 vaccines and pre-existing medical conditions. You can talk to the person providing the vaccination, your doctor or pharmacist, about your medical condition and about any potential risks.
Information on the ingredients of any vaccine will be available in the Consumer Medicines Information leaflet which will be made available on the Therapeutic Goods Administration website at www.tga.gov.au using the search term ‘Consumer Medicines Information’.
How is the vaccine administered?
The COVID-19 (Pfizer) vaccine requires two doses which must be administered at least 21 days apart.
Can I get the COVID-19 and the annual influenza (flu) vaccine?
Routine scheduling and giving a flu vaccine with a COVID-19 vaccine on the same day is not recommended. The preferred minimum interval between a dose of seasonal flu vaccine and a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is 14 days.
Can I refuse service from a support worker/career if they have not been vaccinated?
People with a disability have a choice over who supports them. People with a disability can ask the provider to make sure that the workers that they employ to support a person are vaccinated. If a worker does not wish to be vaccinated, the person’s provider will need to make alternate arrangements for the person with a disability’s support, in close consultation with the person with a disability. This may mean identifying another support worker.
I am an NDIS participant. Can my support worker refuse service if I have not received the COVID-19 vaccine?
No. COVID-19 vaccinations are not mandatory vaccinations. People have the right to decide whether they will be vaccinated or not. If a person chooses not to be vaccinated, the risk of infection can continue to be managed through the use of recommended infection control practices. If a provider or support worker refuses to continue to provide supports to you because you have not received the COVID-19 vaccine, it could be a breach of the NDIS Code of Conduct (NDIS Providers) and a complaint can be made to the NDIS Commission.
What can I do to stay updated and informed?
For all providers (even if you have not been contacted yet) with people with disability or workers eligible for Phase 1a, we strongly recommend that you:
- Start conversations to ensure everyone is informed about the priority roll-out and understands the vaccination program.
- Review the ATAGI consent pack and start discussions with people with disability or substitute decision makers about consent as soon as possible. Additional resources will be available soon for people with disability to support consent.
- Check the website frequently for the latest updates.