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13 September 2021

The Morrison Government has as little as eight weeks to vaccinate all Australians living with disabilities.

There are fears people disability will not have reached the 70 per cent vaccination target when the broader population hits the same figure, which could be used as a trigger to end lockdowns.

Australia is predicted to open as early as November as the nation’s two most populous states, NSW and Victoria, race to get their residents fully vaccinated.

Labor is not calling for any delays to the lockdowns ending, but the Morrison Government must accelerate the vaccine rollout to people with disabilities.

Australians living with disabilities are terrified they will get sick or die if they are not vaccinated by the time the nation reaches the Doherty Institute modelling targets the Government is using to open the nation.

The Doherty Institute data does not include any specific reference to people with disabilities, a serious cause of concern for all Australians.

People living with disabilities have been left behind at every stage of the Morrison Government’s vaccination rollout and are at risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19.

Evidence suggests people with disabilities are more likely to become severely unwell and/or die from COVID-19.

Available figures show people with disabilities are severely lagging behind in the vaccine rollout, despite the Government’s plan to vaccinate vulnerable people in the 1a and 1b groups by April of this year.

Recent data also revealed just 34.1 per cent of NDIS participants were fully vaccinated.

As well as immediately vaccinating people in group homes and those in the 1a and 1b groups, the Morrison Government and NDIS Minister Linda Reynolds must ramp up the vaccine rollout to the broader group of 4.4 million Australians living with disabilities.

Although the Government collects data on how many of the 450,000 NDIS participants who have been affected by COVID-19, this covers only a portion of the 4.4 million Australians who report having a disability.

There is no transparency about the number of Australians with a disability and their supporters who have been vaccinated.

The Morrison Government needs to publish the data it has on these critical groups of Australians.
Many people with disability are unable to leave their homes to get tested and vaccinated against COVID-19 due to mobility or transport limitations, or voluntary isolation in response to the disproportionate risks of COVID-19.

What is going to happen to these people when Australia opens up and they are unvaccinated against the deadly Delta strain that is killing people each day?

This is fast becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated and the disability community is rightly distressed about a future where they or their loved ones are not protected from COVID-19.