The Disability Royal Commission has released a draft report calling the vaccine rollout for peoples living with disability as “seriously deficient”.
The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability released the draft report which details 17 findings and 7 recommendations.
It described the rollout as “seriously deficient”, particularly for people within residential disability settings and disability support workers.
Whilst the report recognises the issues that faced the Department of Health in both devising and implementing the rollout strategy, it finds that in meeting and attempting to work through these problems the Department of Health failed.
The report found that the key decision in March 2021 to prioritise Aged Care over Residential Disability services was made without consultation with the disability sector.
It was only announced 6 weeks after the decision was made on 20 April 2021 when evidence was given to the Senate Select Standing Committee on COVID-19.
Three pressing failings of the rollout for people with disabilities were identified as a lack of consultation, a lack of transparency and a lack of provision of clear and easily comprehensible information to people with disabilities; which contributed to hesitancy and fear.
Damian Griffis, CEO of the First Peoples Disability Network Australia, spoke to the National Indigenous Times on the Royal Commission’s report and the Government’s management of vaccines for Australia’s Indigenous community living with disabilities.
“One of our big concerns is that the Vaccine rollout has been using NDIS participants to identify vaccination rates of disabled people. However, there remain very low rates of participation in the NDIS of First Peoples,” he said.
“As a result, measuring vaccination rates through the NDIS is unreliable, particularly with First Peoples.”
Griffis expressed his organisation’s additional concerns about access to support during lockdown, and access to fair and equitable treatment, including the ICU.
“There has been a lack of proper strategy in terms of engaging First Peoples,” he concluded.
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