Vaccination against COVID-19 is particularly important for people with disability, many of whom are at greater risk of severe illness arising from a COVID-19 infection, suffering long-term impacts due to pre-existing health conditions. The Management and Operational Plan for People with Disability explains these risks.
We know that people with disability and their families are concerned about what it will mean for them when restrictions across the country ease, even where they are not currently living in a place that is experiencing an outbreak. Many people need assistance to consider the options available to them for vaccination, and some are hesitant about the benefit for them.
As providers of key supports and services to people with disability in the NDIS, you and your workers play a critical role by providing accurate and accessible information about COVID-19 and the vaccination. You also play a critical role in supporting people with disability to receive the vaccine when they need support to do so.
All NDIS participants over 12 years of age are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, as are their carers and support workers. As the rates of vaccination across Australia grow, people with disability should be supported in whatever way they require, to access the vaccine as a priority group.
Where you have regular contact with participants and are aware they are not already vaccinated or booked in for a vaccination, you should make every effort to support them to receive the vaccine, with their informed consent and in accordance with any specific medical advice.
We have some information about supporting people who have additional support needs to access the vaccination. You can find the fact sheet on Informed Consent, preparing for the vaccine and restrictive practices on the government website.
All NDIS providers, both registered and unregistered, have obligations under the NDIS Code of Conduct to provide supports and services in a safe manner and to promptly take steps to act on concerns about matters that may impact the safety of supports and services provided to people with disability. The Code of Conduct also requires providers to act with respect for the individual rights of participants, including rights to self-determination and decision making.
As a registered NDIS provider, the conditions of your registration require you to comply with NDIS Practice Standards that relate to the provision of supports and services to people with disability in a safe environment. The NDIS Practice Standards also provide guidance for the management of risks to participants and workers associated with the provision of NDIS supports and services.
Supporting participants to receive the vaccine, where they choose to be vaccinated, helps to promote a safe service delivery environment, and is one way that you can help manage risks of COVID-19 infection for the participants you support.
This support is critical in all locations across Australia, not only in those locations where there are outbreaks. It is important that all necessary preparations are made to support people with disability to get the facts about COVID-19 and to plan their response to the risk it presents to them.
Eligible providers can claim a participant vaccination enablement payment from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) for every participant enabled to become fully vaccinated. For more information, visit the NDIA website.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) information webpage on the NDIS Commission website also contains fact sheets and links to resources about COVID-19 vaccination, outbreak planning and infection control.