Residential disability clients and staff are considered Priorty 1A for receiving of the COVID vaccination, due to the co-morbidities of the clients and their shared high density living facilities.
The CPSU conducted a survey of members in the residential disability sector in April which found that less than 10% of staff and residents had received their vaccination.
Of those staff that had or were planning on receiving their jab shortly (30%), all of the vaccinated workers reported receiving this jab in a primary health setting or a respiratory clinic.
This presents a serious problem for the disability sector due to the clash between the shifts worked and the availability of primary health, and the inability of primary health to prioritise between 1A, 1B and now 2A priority patients.
Troy Wright, Assistant General Secretary of the CPSU NSW said, “We have seen at the Royal Commission the NDIS admitting to less than 1000 residents nationwide being vaccinated”
Yet in our NSW Correctional facilities considered 1B priority we saw NSW Health through Justice Health enter the workplace and see lines of inmates and staff receive their jabs.
We have written to the NSW Government asking them to apply the same approach to the NSW disability sector as they have for our prison population.
This sector since the beginning of COVID-19 has been led by a reluctant federal government, with a hands off approach more keen to keep profits for providers than disability client’s safety.
It has only been with the assistance of the NSW Health Orders that restrictions have been implemented limiting risks of exposure, through visits and programmes.
However, disability staff are losing confidence in the vaccination program by the federal government, and for the long term safety of the disability population we need to make it easier for disability workers to access vaccinations.
That is why we are calling on the NSW Government to utilise disability workplaces to become mini vaccination centres to ensure the ongoing safety of disability clients and staff.