Expanded access to vaccines for NDIS participants
All participants in the National Disability Insurance Plan (NDIS) aged 12 to 15 will be able to receive a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine starting this Wednesday, August 25. All NDIS participants aged 16 and over became eligible in June.
Health and Elderly Care Minister Greg Hunt said today’s decision by the Australian Immunization Technical Advisory Group (ATAGI) will make a big difference in the lives of children with disabilities and their families .
“Today’s announcement is good news for the disability sector and government and will help ensure that some of our most vulnerable Australians can be vaccinated as soon as possible,” said Minister Hunt.
“This is important protection for more than 40,000 children with disabilities and we encourage their parents and guardians to reserve them for vaccination and ensure they can be protected from COVID-19. “
NDIS participants join the current cohort of children aged 12 to 15 who will be prioritized for the Pfizer vaccine, including:
- children with specific medical conditions that increase their risk of severe COVID-19, including severe asthma, diabetes, obesity, congenital heart and circulatory abnormalities, neurodevelopmental disorders, epilepsy, immunosuppressed and trisomy 21
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children
- all children aged 12 to 15 in remote communities, as part of larger community immunization programs that provide vaccines for all ages (≥12 years).
National Disability Insurance Minister Senator Linda Reynolds CSC welcomed today’s announcement.
“I have approached Minister Hunt to request that eligibility be extended to all NDIS participants between the ages of 12 and 15. I am very pleased that ATAGI has now approved this extension of vaccine deployment for NDIS participants.
“I will continue to work with the disability sector and I am passionate about ensuring that our most vulnerable Australians are vaccinated as soon as possible.
“The deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine in the disability sector continues to increase at a sustained rate and there are now more than 8,200 vaccination points available.
“Over 123,000, or 46%, of NDIS participants over the age of 16 received at least one dose of the vaccine and 28% received two doses. This is an increase of over 90,000 participants and a 300% increase since early June.
“More than 18,500, or 68% of NDIS participants in shared residential accommodation received at least one dose, and nearly 53% received two. This is an increase of more than 12,300, which means that we have tripled the number of people vaccinated since the beginning of June 2021. “
“Many participants need tailor-made immunization devices that are more complex than in the general population and elderly care facilities. This includes the critical need to ensure informed consent or appropriate decision making for individuals before the vaccine is issued and administered.
“There has been a concerted and sustained effort within government and the disability sector to communicate the importance of immunization and to increase the access points available to people with disabilities, including specialized immunization centers in handicap. “
The government is soon awaiting new recommendations regarding the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for the rest of children aged 12 to 15.
Parents and guardians should check the COVID-19 eligibility checker starting August 25 to book their child’s immunization.