Disability representative organisation People with Disability Australia has found people with disability are struggling to work out if they are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines and are getting extremely inconsistent access to vaccination appointments.
The national disabled people’s organisation has surveyed its members this month, finding a widespread lack of clarity around eligibility and patchy access to vaccination appointments.
Only 999 people with disability in Australia have been vaccinated against COVID-19, with only 127 disabled people being fully vaccinated.
PWDA president Samantha Connor said the Australian Government should up its game in educating people about their eligibility.
“Clinically vulnerable people should be able to access the vaccine as soon as they are able,” Ms Connor said.
“People with disability and their support workers are missing out on COVID-19 vaccine injections.
“The Government has a responsibility to engage with people with disability, their families and their representative organisations about the vaccine so people won’t miss out.
“In a global pandemic, it is unfair and un-Australian to leave those most at risk behind.”
PWDA shared preliminary results from its survey just after 6.30am today on ABC Radio National Breakfast with Fran Kelly.
The peak disability organisation has found 43.5% of members who have taken the survey so far said it took time and/or help to figure out which phase of the vaccine rollout they were in.
Another 23.2% of respondents said they are still confused about which phase of the vaccine rollout they are in.
Some reported disagreement between different medical professionals as to their eligibility, and many said the changing advice about the two different vaccines was poorly communicated to them and their GPs, leading to delays and confusion.
One PWDA member from Victoria said they tried to get a booking at various vaccination clinics listed on a government website only to find several hadn’t been notified or received supplies.
More than one member said they couldn’t find an accessible location in their region that had bookings available.
The survey remains open to PWDA members for the rest of the month.
People with disability and disability representative organisations can join PWDA for free at https://pwd.org.au/get-involved/membership.
Amanda Ellis, PWDA Senior Policy Officer
Phone: +61 408 682 867