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Australia launches vaccination hubs for people with disabilities

long queues as people line up to get coronavirus vaccine against covid 19 at the Melbourne exhibition convention centre in Victoria.
Photo: Dreamstime

The Australian Government is establishing dedicated vaccination hubs in key locations to provide additional safe and accessible locations for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants in Phase 1 to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. NDIS disability workers and primary carers of people with disability will also be able to access the hubs.

Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the number of NDIS participants getting vaccinated is growing.

As at 1 June 2021 nearly 38,000 NDIS participants had received at least one dose of the vaccine, an increase of approximately 6,600 since 25 May 2021. Nationally more than 7,350 NDIS participants in disability and residential accommodation settings eligible under Phase 1a, have had at least one dose of the vaccine. This is an increase of approximately 1,100 since 25 May 2021.

“This increase in vaccination numbers is a testament to the combined efforts of the disability sector and carers, as well as the State and Commonwealth governments to keep people safe during the pandemic,” Minster Reynolds said

In Victoria, in addition to the disability specific hub in Thomastown, the Commonwealth is partnering with Life Without Barriers in Dandenong to establish a disability specific hub commencing next week.

Life Without Barriers will also establish disability specific hubs in Newcastle and Central Coast, NSW this month.

An Aspen Medical community-based disability specific hub will commence in Medindie, South Australia next week.

“In addition, there are also large NDIS providers working directly with the Commonwealth and contracted vaccine providers to vaccinate NDIS participants, their carers and support workers, including in Cannington, in my home state of Western Australia,” said Minister Reynolds.

“These hubs allow providers, in partnership with the Commonwealth Government and vaccine providers, to ensure some of the most vulnerable Australians and their support workers and carers can be vaccinated faster.

“NDIS providers in the vicinity of the hubs will be contacted as they open to confirm local access arrangements for participants, their carers and support workers.

The Commonwealth is currently working with a number of other providers and plans are well advanced to open further hubs nationally in the coming weeks.

“I’m particularly appreciative of all disability providers who are so willing and also well-placed to understand the needs of individual participants to facilitate this access to community vaccination locations,” Minister Reynolds said.

These hubs are being established in addition to the multiple streams already available to people with disability, their carers and support workers. The four key channels of access to vaccination include:

  • Primary care sites – more than 4,600 sites, including general practices (GPs), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Services and Commonwealth Vaccination clinics
  • State and Territory operated clinics – more than 600 state and territory operated vaccination clinics
  • Commonwealth in-reach and hubs – both in-reach services and dedicated hubs are being progressively established in partnership with NDIS providers to provide accessible and safe vaccination for people with a disability
  • GP in-reach – GPs are supporting individuals in residential disability settings by providing in-reach services to administer vaccinations for sites identified by disability service providers.

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