As Australia opens up despite ongoing COVID community transmission, people with disabilities need to work through some complex questions. One of these questions hits our friend Dr George Taleporos a bit too close to home – so he got some answers to share with all of us in his new series of Reasonable and Necessary.
People with disability are at much bigger risk of getting very sick or dying from COVID-19. But getting a vaccine has been really hard for lots of people in our community, and vaccination rates are still too low. So we have been asking people with disability, families and the people who support them to tell us about their vaccine experiences, so we can tell the government what they can do to make it easier. Here’s what we have heard so far…
A new report from the Disability Royal Commission into the COVID vaccine rollout is just the latest in a long list of documented failures by governments to address the needs and rights of disabled people. In the race to “open up”, governments must prioritise the needs of disabled people and do a much better job of engaging with the expertise of disabled people and the sector’s organisations, says El Gibbs, an award-winning writer and disability rights advocate.
In January 2021 the Commonwealth government released its COVID-19 vaccine rollout strategy. The plan prioritised those most likely to be exposed to COVID-19, and importantly those most likely to become ill and die from the disease – a sensible approach, similar to many jurisdictions around the world.
This month, young people with disability joined the list of people who are allowed to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Being eligible is one thing – but how easy is it to actually make happen? Just as we have heard from so many people with disability and families in our community – Heike and her son Bodhi found out just how difficult it can be – the hard way. This is Heike’s open letter to the government.