The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Quality and Safeguards Commission has defended the rights of people with disability to make their own decisions about COVID-19 vaccinations.
In a statement released this week, Acting Commissioner Samantha Taylor said the NDIS Act sets out several principles that guide the management of the NDIS, people participating in the scheme, and providers that support people under the NDIS.
This includes the principle that people with disability have the same right as other members of Australian society to be able to determine their own best interests.
She said this included the right to exercise choice and control, and to engage as equal partners in decisions that will affect their lives, to the full extent of their capacity.
The statement said the supports and services that a person with a disability receives in the NDIS should support them to:
The NDIS Code of Conduct sets out the minimum standards and obligations that people with disability and all Australians can expect of providers and workers delivering NDIS supports and services to people participating in the NDIS.
Ms. Taylor said It is the right of every eligible Australian citizen to access the COVID-19 vaccination if it is their choice to be vaccinated.
Every Australian citizen should have access to information about COVID-19 vaccination in a form that they can understand.
“As COVID-19 restrictions start to ease across Australia, vaccination against COVID-19 is critically important for people with disability, many of whom are at greater risk of severe illness if infected, with long-term impacts, or even death, a real risk,” the Acting Commissioner said.
“NDIS providers and workers have a clear obligation under the NDIS Code of Conduct to act with respect for individual rights to freedom of expression, self-determination, and decision-making.”
“This extends to supporting participants to exercise their right to make their own decision about COVID-19 vaccination.”
“As Acting NDIS Commissioner, I expect NDIS providers and workers who have a regular role in supporting a person with disability to assist them to make their own decision about the vaccination, or to engage with their legally appointed substitute decision maker if they have one.”
“Where a person with disability is having trouble making a decision about vaccination, they should be supported to make their decision, whatever it might be.”
“The decision to have the vaccination, or not, is their decision.”
Providers and workers can meet their responsibilities by doing simple things to support the person in their decision making about COVID-19 vaccination, such as:
To read the Acting Commissioner’s statement in full, head to https://www.ndiscommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2021-11/message-acting-commissioner-statement-rights-covid-vaccinations_0.pdf