Disability services take Covid vaccinations ‘into their own hands’ amid rollout failures


Sumary of Disability services take Covid vaccinations ‘into their own hands’ amid rollout failures:

  • Failures with the federal government Covid-19 vaccine rollout are forcing residential disability care providers to circumvent the system and approach general practitioners directly to secure supplies for vulnerable residents, rather than waiting for deliveries to arrive at their facilities..
  • Disability care residents and their support workers were included in the highest priority stage for the commonwealth vaccine rollout, phase 1a, and were to be serviced by in-reach teams who would visit disability accomodation to administer the vaccine..
  • The roughly six weeks the government gave itself to complete the stage has now elapsed, and only 112,830 of the 190,000 aged and disability care residents in Australia have been vaccinated..
  • National Disability Services, the peak group for 1,100 non-governmental service providers, said it was receiving a significant number of complaints about the rollout from its members, including about poor communications from government on when and where to expect vaccine deliveries..
  • “We do know, and this as recently as this morning, that a number of our provider members are taking matters into their own hands, and doing their best to support clients – often with very significant behavioural challenges – to access the vaccines through their local GP, rather than waiting for the vaccine to be delivered to the disability accomodation where they might be living,”.
  • “They’re doing that because they haven’t been able to get the vaccine where their clients have been living..
  • The intention with phase 1a had been that it would allow people with a disability and the workers supporting them to get the vaccine … at their place of residence..
  • But he said providers needed more information from government, including at least an “understanding of when they might expect to get the vaccine, how they might expect to get the vaccine, and where they might expect to get the vaccine from”..
  • It added more pressure on already overwhelmed GP clinics, and was not suitable for many people living in disability care..
  • “Many people living in disability accomodation are living there because they exhibit quite challenging behaviours and these are behaviours which are, if you like, provoked when a person has been asked to attend a doctor surgery that they are not familiar with to receive an injection, otherwise known as an invasive procedure, from someone they also might not be absolutely familiar with,”.
  • “The main point of allowing for the vaccination to be delivered to and provided at disability accomodation was in anticipation of these issues.”.
  • The health department said in a statement that it continued to work “closely with disability advocates, stakeholders, and disability providers”..
  • “The priority is to deliver vaccines in a safe and efficient way in settings where multiple people living with a disability reside and to provide access that supports individual personal choice,”.
  • “This includes enabling people living with disability to access a vaccine through a GP if that is their preference.”…

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