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Who will be prioritised for vaccination in Phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccination program?

  • People with disability attending centre-based services and adults with disability who have a specified underlying medical condition will be prioritised, including those with immunocompromising conditions.
  • Essential carers (paid and unpaid) including carers who are also family members of someone with disability, and disability support volunteers who provide support to people in their homes, respite care, educational, employment and leisure settings.

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Who will be prioritised if vaccine availability is restricted?

  • At this stage there is no indication that there are limits on vaccine supply that would impact Phase 1a or Phase 1b of the vaccination program.

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What is the process for identifying and delivering vaccination to those in Phase 1a priority groups?

  • The Commonwealth is working with a number of stakeholders, including the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, state and territory governments and other organisations to identify and reach out to people with disability.
  • The Department of Health, or a contractor engaged by the Department, will directly contact disability residential accommodation providers to arrange visits by a vaccination team.

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What is the process for identifying people with disability in the community, particularly those above 70 and/or ineligible for NDIS?

  • Adults over 70 can be vaccinated in Phase 1b by appointment at state vaccination clinics, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and some GPs. Disability service providers are encouraged to identify clients who may be eligible for vaccination in Phase 1b and advise them to contact their GP.
  • All standard forms of identification will be accepted, and for those attending their GP, the practice records may be relied upon as evidence.

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How can high risk people with disability not included in Phase 1a ensure they are prioritised in Phase 1b?

  • The Department of Health is aware that many people with increased vulnerability wish to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Phase 1a and Phase 1b will overlap and run in parallel for some time.
  • The Department of Health is examining the list of medical conditions that may make people more vulnerable to ensure that early access to vaccination goes to those with the highest risk.

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Are there resources to support people with disability give consent?

  • Resources are available on the Department of Health website to help support people to provide informed consent for vaccination.
  • NSW Health is working with the Public Guardian and resources are being developed to support people with disability who are unable to consent themselves.

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Residential disability care facilities

How will the Commonwealth identify residential disability care facilities?

  • The Commonwealth is consulting with the NDIA, NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, state governments and other stakeholders in the sector to identify residential disability care settings.
  • The NSW Government has provided information about other congregate care facilities where there may be a concentration of people with disability. Residents and staff will be included in Phase 1a.

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Are vaccination providers aware of the specific needs of residents of disability care facilities

  • All sites will be contacted in advance and vaccination providers will have full discussions with the sites regarding people’s needs, what to do prior to the day and on the day, logistics, monitoring, safety, consent and advice on what to do if there are any concerns after the vaccination providers depart.

What outreach and in-reach is included in the roll-out of the vaccination program?

  • The Commonwealth is working with the NDIA, the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, state and territory governments and other organisations to identify and communicate with people with disability.
  • In-reach vaccination teams will provide vaccinations at residential disability care settings for residents and staff.

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Which residential disability care facilities is NSW Health responsible for?

  • NSW Health does not operate any residential disability facilities.

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Will those in rehabilitation facilities who have a planned discharge to a residential disability care facility or residential aged care facility (RACF) be eligible for vaccination?

  • If a patient in a public hospital is due to be discharged to a residential disability facility or RACF, arrangements will be made on a case-by-case basis.
  • NSW Health may be able to support access to vaccination through appropriate service providers if required.

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COVID-19 vaccination locations

What if someone can’t travel to a COVID-19 vaccination hub?

  • In Phase 1a, disability care residents will be vaccinated at their residence.
  • In Phase 1b, eligible people can be vaccinated at state vaccination clinics, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and some GPs. Home visits may be available for people who are unable to visit a COVID-19 vaccination location on a case-by-case basis. Further information will be made available by the Department of Health Vaccine Taskforce in the coming weeks.

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Are COVID-19 vaccination locations accessible?

  • In the coming months, people will be able to access vaccinations at: general practices, Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services, state vaccination clinics, and pharmacies – locations offering COVID-19 vaccination should be accessible, including physical access and adjustments to facilitate communication.
  • The Department of Health is aware of communication challenges for people who have vision impairment, hearing impairment, psychosocial disability, and intellectual and other cognitive disabilities including autism, and the challenges of abiding by COVID-19 safe practices when attending vaccination locations.

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Will state governments be assisting with the vaccination roll-out?

  • It is not anticipated that the Commonwealth will require assistance from state governments with the elements of the roll-out that the Commonwealth is managing.
  • NSW Health has been assisting with liaison between the Department of Health and state representatives responsible for the interface with disability and NDIS providers in NSW.

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Adverse reaction to COVID-19 vaccination

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for people with disability who have immunocompromising conditions?

  • Evidence to date indicates very low adverse reaction rates, however, vaccination providers will ensure that special arrangements are made where any risk has been identified.
  • The COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in Australia are generally recommended for people who are immunocompromised, however, vaccination may be less effective in this group. Anyone who receives a COVID-19 vaccine must be monitored for 15 minutes following vaccination. People who have a history of anaphylaxis and carry an EpiPen should be monitored for 30 minutes.

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What happens if someone has an adverse reaction to COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Vaccination providers will identify anyone with increased risk of anaphylaxis based on past reactions and will ensure that special arrangements are made for those who need it.
  • Vaccination providers will be fully trained in identifying adverse reactions and managing such situations.
  • The Australian Immunisation Handbook requires that an anaphylaxis kit is available when providing vaccination. Vaccination providers will be required to have an anaphylaxis kit with them. In the event of an emergency, routine procedures will be followed.

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Document information

Developed by

Disability Community of Practice


  • Disability Community of Practice
  • Rehabilitation Community of Practice
  • Spinal Cord Injury Community of Practice
  • Government Relations Branch (Steven Davison)

Endorsed by

Dr Nigel Lyons, Deputy Secretary, Health System Strategy and Planning

Reviewed by

Tish Bruce

For use by

Members of COVID-19 Communities of Practice

Current as at: Wednesday 31 March 2021
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW