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COVID-19 Vaccine roll-out

COVID 19 Vaccine

Information for ActiveSDA residents and families

The Australian Government Department of Health (Department of Health) started Phase 1a of the national COVID-19 vaccine roll-out on 22 February 2021.

Residents and workers in disability group accommodation settings, including Specialist Disability Accommodation, will be first to be offered the vaccine.

The Department of Health will contact these initial sites and work closely with the providers including ActiveSDA. Arrangements will be made for people living in Specialist Disability Accommodation to receive the vaccine in their home.

Haven; Home, Safe will work closely with the on-site support providers to ensure residents and families have the information and support they need.

There is an Australian Government Department of Health dedicated web page for people with disability about COVID-19 vaccines.  

The COVID-19 vaccine is free and voluntary.

People with disability or their legal guardians will need to give consent before the vaccine in given.

Information about the roll-out is currently being developed into accessible formats such as Easy Read and Auslan and will be made available as soon as possible.

Why you should get vaccinated for COVID-19

Some people with disability are at greater risk of becoming very sick if they catch COVID-19. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is a safe and effective way of protecting you, your family and the community. It also protects other people who may not be able to be vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone in Australia.

You can choose if you want to get vaccinated for COVID-19

The COVID-19 vaccine is voluntary. You can choose whether to have the vaccination or not.

Frequently Asked Questions – The following information has been provided by the Department of Health.

How will people with disability be identified or enrolled to receive the vaccine in Phase 1a?
The Department of Health is working with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission), state and territory governments and other organisations to identify and reach out to people with disability. For Phase 1a, people with disability will be notified when it is their turn to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

Is eligibility for Phase 1a limited to people who are National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants?
No.

Is there a limit to the size of the residential setting included in Phase 1a?
Residential settings with two or more people with disability will be included in Phase 1a.

I live alone but my carer works in residential settings with more than two people. Am I eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1a?
No. People with disability who live in residential supported accommodation with two or more people will be eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1a.

Is it mandatory to receive a vaccine in Phase 1a if I am eligible?
No. The COVID-19 vaccine will be voluntary.

If I am eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1a but take a while to decide if I want to receive it, will I be able to receive the vaccine at a later stage?
Yes. Should an eligible individual decline the vaccine in Phase 1a, they will remain eligible to access the vaccination at a later date.  

If I am eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1a but do not have an underlying medical condition identified by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), can I still receive the vaccine?
Yes. The underlying medical conditions identified by ATAGI are relevant for Phase 1b of the vaccine roll-out.

Will staff who do not provide direct care in a residential setting be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1a?
Yes. Any paid staff who work in a supported residential setting with two or more people with disability will be eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1a.

Phase 1b

What is classified as an underlying condition?
ATAGI’s advice to Government on priority population groups for COVID-19 vaccination is available via the Commonwealth Department of Health’s website.  These include, but are not limited to, immunocompromised, multiple comorbidities, chronic lung disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and severe obesity.

Is the list of underlying conditions final or will it be updated?
ATAGI is continually reviewing data and evidence for vaccines and may update its advice to Government as new information becomes available.

What if I am eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1b but am unable to go to a location to receive the vaccine?
This will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Can people under the age of 18 receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1b if they have an underlying medical condition?
No.

What age group is classified as younger adults with an underlying medical condition in Phase 1b?
People aged 18-69 are classified as younger adults.

COVID-19 vaccines

Where can I access information on the COVID-19 vaccine?
Please visit the Department of Health vaccine website. Information on the site will be updated regularly as new information becomes available. Resources for people with disability will also be provided and updated.

Have certain vaccines been earmarked for people with disability?
No. A priority approach will be taken depending on what vaccine is registered and available first.

Can I use funds from my NDIS plan to cover the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone in Australia.

What is the timing between doses of the Pfizer vaccine?
Two doses will be required, 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.

People should talk to their health care professional for more information.

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 using the search term ‘Consumer Medicines Information’.

Proof of vaccination

Can I refuse service from a support worker/carer if they have not been vaccinated
People with disability have choice over who supports them. People with 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 disability’s support, in close consultation with the person with 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. 

Informed consent

How do I provide informed consent?
The Australian Government is working with ATAGI to develop resources for informed consent. More information on informed consent, including consent forms, will be available soon.

How will consent be provided by people with disability who are unable to consent themselves?
Informed consent for each dose of the vaccination must be appropriately given and recorded on behalf of the person with disability who are unable to consent themselves. More information will be provided about this process.

More information about the vaccine roll out
NDIS Commission COVID-19 information and resources

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) information webpage on the NDIS Commission website contains links to updates, training, alerts and other resources.

COVID-19 webpage containing information for people with disability, and a webpage of frequently asked questions about COVID-19 for all stakeholders.

NDIS participants can also obtain information from the dedicated COVID-19 webpage for participants, which has been published by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

NDIS Contact details

Call: 1800 035 544 (free call from landlines). Our contact centre is open 9am to 4.30pm in the NT, 9.00am to 5.00pm in all other states and territories Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays.

Email: contactcentre@ndiscommission.gov.au

Website: www.ndiscommission.gov.au

ActiveSDA contact details

Call: 1300  (free call from landlines). Our contact centre is open 9am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays.

Email: activesda@hhs.org.au

Website: www.activesda.org.au

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