Media Release: COVID-19 vaccinations for people with disability

Media Release: COVID-19 vaccinations for people with disability

Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) is calling on the Commonwealth and State/Territory Governments to work together to urgently implement the national vaccination plan and strategy to ensure we do not continue to leave people with disability behind in the COVID vaccine rollout.

QDN Board of Directors Chair, Mr Des Ryan said “We were originally identified in the 1a and 1b Priority Groups by the Commonwealth Government. Our vaccination rates are lagging behind the general population’s, which is currently sitting at nearly 49% of Queenslanders double vaccinated. It is critical that in opening up with COVID-19 in the community, people with disability, their families and carers can have the same vaccination protections. We cannot continue to be pushed to the back of the queue. We need different strategies to assist people to get vaccinated.

Dr Dinesh Palipana, disability advocate and QDN member, appeared on ABC television’s Q&A last week and reinforced that “We have to do everything we can to make sure people (with disability) are vaccinated … risks are real, and risks are high.”

The Disability Royal Commission (DRC) released its report on 27 September outlining their findings of the inadequate response and implementation of vaccine rollout for people with disability. This report has again highlighted the lack of prioritisation for people with disability to be protected against serious illness or death. The DRC Report made seven recommendations to address this issue including priority access.

The report calls for ensuring that all people with disability and their workers – but particularly all NDIS participants, people living in residential disability settings, and all people with intellectual disability – have a genuine opportunity to be fully vaccinated before the 70 per cent threshold is reached for significantly easing restrictions in any state or territory.

QDN Acting Chief Executive Officer Michelle Moss said, “There are a number of barriers to getting the vaccine that are experienced by people with disability that are different to the needs of other parts of the community. We know from our work with people who experience additional challenges – we need a different approach. We can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different outcome. We are all in this together. All levels of Government, people with disability and the sector need to work together to make sure we don’t leave anyone behind in the race to it our vaccination targets.”

We note the update to National Cabinet update on 1 October regarding plans to increase vaccination rates amongst people with disability and Indigenous Australians and emphasise this targeted effort needs to scale up immediately.

QDN acknowledges the need to open up once the appropriate vaccination levels are reached, but remains concerned that people with disability will be exposed to great risk if every effort has not been made to ensure as many people, families, and workers as possible are vaccinated.

Media contact: Acting CEO Michelle Moss – 1300 363 783

7 October 2021



Blue background wtih pink writing saying Media Release. There is a white QDN logo in the top right corner.