With the government encouraging us all to get vaccinated, some of you may be feeling anxious and uncertain about what to do. It’s not up to us at Plan Partners to take a side in whether you should or shouldn’t get vaccinated, but if it is something you’re considering, we’ve gathered some helpful info to help you understand your options.

Who can get the vaccine?

At the moment, any Australian over the age of 12 is able to get vaccinated. The vaccine is free for everyone, even if you don’t have a Medicare card.

NDIS participants and people working in the disability sector have been given priority access to the vaccine, to help ensure they’re protected. This means, you shouldn’t have to wait as long to get an appointment at a government ran vaccination clinic.

How can you get vaccinated?

There are three main places you can go to get vaccinated: pharmacies, GPs or medical clinics, and government vaccination hubs.

Government hubs offer priority access to NDIS participants and disability workers. There is also now a simplified way to book a vaccine appointment through your local pharmacy. An easy access link for bookings will be sent directly to you, allowing you to make an appointment in just a few clicks. You can use the government’s Covid 19 Vaccine Clinic Finder to find your nearest vaccination clinic and book an appointment.

Can support workers help participants get vaccinated?

Recognising the important role support workers play in the vaccination rollout, the government has introduced a special $150 payment for support workers assisting NDIS participants to visit a vaccination clinic.

Is there support for service providers to get vaccinated?

If you’re a registered provider in Victoria or parts of New South Wales, you can claim a $100 payment to help cover any costs associated with getting your COVID-19 vaccination. This payment comes directly from the NDIA and is part of the Australian government’s push to combat outbreaks in those states.

Are you required to get vaccinated?

This is a complex issue and it will likely change in the near future, but let’s look at some of the basics.

At the moment, vaccines are not compulsory within Australia. Having said that, there are some limitations around the things you can do if you choose not to be vaccinated, including restrictions entering certain venues and the industries you can work within.

Victoria, for example, has introduced mandatory vaccines for all authorised workers. This means that any Victorian service provider with an authorised worker permit must have at least one dose of vaccine by October 15, and two doses by November 26 to continue attending their workplace.

Other states and territories may introduce similar rules, particularly around people working in the disability sector. Regardless of the mandates in place, if an NDIS participant requests that their service providers be vaccinated, that’s their right. If the service provider refuses, the participant can change providers.

Larger organisations are required to accommodate the participant’s request by providing them another staff member who is vaccinated. Service providers and support workers who refuse to provide supports to an NDIS participant because of their vaccination status may be in breach of the NDIS Code of Conduct, which protects the rights of participants.

The topic of vaccinations can be a sensitive issue for some people – particularly as COVID-19 presents a significant risk to many people with disability. Keep this in mind and treat each other with respect and dignity when talking about vaccinations. Remember, we’re all in this together.

Where can I find more information about vaccines?

If you have more questions about COVID-19 vaccines, it’s best to direct them to official health sources, healthcare professionals or government resources like the Australian Government's vaccine information page. 

With so much talk about vaccines both online and in the media, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. That’s why we strongly recommend you only listen to medical experts. At the end of the day, it’s your decision and your health. You deserve to give yourself the best protection possible.

How else is the NDIS protecting participants and providers?

The NDIS has introduced several new measures to keep participants and providers safe and protected throughout the pandemic. These include being able to buy Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) with NDIS funds, supporting the transition to virtual therapy sessions and making it easier for participants to have meals delivered to their homes.