The Australian Government has announced that the first round of COVID-19 vaccinations will begin later this month.
There has been some confusion in the community including about who will be able to access the vaccination and when, especially from people with disabilities, their families and support workers.
While the information continues to be updated, today we are sharing what we know from the government about how the vaccination program will work.
What is the COVID-19 vaccination?
A vaccination is a medicine that can help protect you against specific diseases. Scientists and governments around the world have been working to develop a vaccination that will help protect people against COVID-19.
Some other countries have already begun to vaccinate people. The Australian Government is working to make sure that everyone in Australia has access to safe, effective and free COVID-19 vaccines.
Before use, vaccines are assessed carefully by independent clinical experts to ensure quality and safety standards are met.
- COVID-19 vaccinations consist of two doses. It hasn’t been confirmed yet how far apart the doses will be but it is likely to be three or four weeks depending on which vaccine you receive.
- There will be more than 1,000 locations across Australia where people will be able to access the vaccine including vaccine hubs at hospitals, Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services, doctors and other clinics.
- The vaccines will be available in batches so they will be given to more vulnerable groups of people first.
- Vaccination is not compulsory but may become a requirement in certain settings (such as for health care workers or if you want to travel overseas).
Who will get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The government aims to have as many people as possible vaccinated by the end of October 2021. They will be offered to people who are most in need of protection first, following the order below.
Group 1 (the first people to get the vaccines)
- Quarantine and border workers
- Frontline health care workers
- Aged care and disability care staff
- Aged care and disability care residents.
- Adults aged 80 years and over
- Adults aged 70-79 years
- Other health care workers
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 55
- Younger adults with an underlying medical condition, including those with a disability
- Critical and high risk workers.
- Adults aged 60-69 years
- Adults aged 50-59 years
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 18-54
- Other critical and high risk workers.
Group 4 (these people will get the vaccine last)
- Other adults
- Any unvaccinated people from previous phases.
Children under 16 who are not a member of any of the above groups will only be vaccinated if recommended.
A public information program on television, radio and social media is expected to communicate information to the various groups about when the vaccine is available. There will also be online tools and a phone hotline so you can check if it’s your turn.
How the program will work for aged and disability care workers and residents in Group 1.
Residents and workers in aged and disability care facilities will receive their vaccinations at the facility.
For residents: Processes will be in place to provide information and obtain consent which will be coordinated by a contract workforce in consultation with the facility. Residents will be advised in advance of the date they will receive their vaccination dose.
For staff: The contracted workforce will work with the facility to confirm staff numbers and dates. Vaccination dates will be communicated in advance.
Follow up care information will be provided and each person who receives the vaccine will get a reminder about the second dose.
Note: Family members of high priority groups will not usually get the vaccine at the same time. Exceptions may apply if a person with a disability is unable to be vaccinated.
There’s still a lot we don’t know about the vaccination program. For more information, go to the government’s COVID-19 vaccines page. If you have specific concerns about the vaccination and your disability or other conditions, it’s best to speak with your doctor.
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