The Victorian Government is investing a further $5 million to boost vaccination rates among people living with a disability, as the state edges closer to meeting its Roadmap COVID-19 vaccination targets.
The government has announced it was launching 10 dedicated disability vaccination “pop-ups” in areas of concern, and expanding Victoria’s successful disability liaison service.
The new vaccination support builds on a wide range of existing help that is available to help people living with a disability – and their loved ones and carers – come forward to protect themselves, their family and their community.
Disability, Ageing and Carers Minister Luke Donnellan said as targets loom closer, the funding and support would make sure the state was supporting vulnerable groups who both have a lower rate of vaccination coverage and have a higher risk of COVID-19.
“If you or someone you love needs to get vaccinated, we’re here to help with priority access, special pop-up sites, and dedicated individual support from our liaison officers,” he said.
While the Commonwealth Government is responsible for administering vaccines to all residential disability workers and residents, the Victorian Government stepped in to play a significant role in supporting Victorians with a disability and the people who care for them to get vaccinated.
As at October 7, more than 84% of Victorian NDIS participants aged 16 and over had received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine when compared to the national rate of 81%. Of NDIS participants in Victoria living in disability accommodation, more than 81% had received at least one dose by the start of the month.
However, vaccination rates among Victorians living with a disability are still lower than the general population – which is why from October 8 all of Victoria’s state-run vaccination centres will support people with disabilities to get vaccinated at any time without a booking.
Ten dedicated Disability Vaccination Pop-ups will be launched throughout October – established in Local Government Areas of concern and delivered in conjunction with key organisations.
Victoria’s Disability Liaison Officers act as vaccination case managers and have helped 6000 people get vaccinated by arranging in-home vaccination, group bookings, advice, or other forms of support.
This program will also be expanded adding an additional 16 officers so it can continue to support referrals over the coming months.
The Pop-ups initiative builds off priority access already available across many vaccination centres with enhanced accessibility and pop-ups, disability-friendly drive-through clinics, and a dedicated new low-sensory site at La Trobe University.
Two disability worker vaccination blitzes have also been held at our state-run sites to increase the rate of vaccination in the sector.
In addition, Victoria will establish hearing, autism, and other disability partners as vaccine ambassadors to promote uptake and provide case management, using base support from existing partners.
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley thanked the health sector and the state’s residents.
“Victoria has really stepped up to support the Commonwealth’s efforts, and I want to thank all the health and community services and partner organisations – and individuals and families themselves for coming forward,” he said.
You can see more information on Victorian vaccination centres with enhanced accessibility, or how to access a Disability Liaison Officer, at coronavirus.vic.gov.au/vaccination-information-people-disability