Disability commissioner slams jab rollout

The chair of the disability royal commission has criticised the slow national vaccine rollout saying it’s left many vulnerable Australians at risk of contracting COVID-19.

“I don’t think anyone can be satisfied with the rollout,” Commissioner Ronald Sackville told ABC Radio on Tuesday.

“It is of immense importance that the rollout for people with disability proceeds with maximum speed.”

Three months ago, four per cent of people aged 16 and above in the National Disability Insurance Scheme were fully vaccinated. That number has since risen to 28 per cent.

“We would have wanted everyone, particularly people with disability in disability residential accommodation, to have been vaccinated, or at least all those who wanted to be, by now,” the former judge said.

More than two-thirds of NDIS participants in shared residential accommodation have now received at least one dose, and more than half have had two doses.

The royal commission held a special hearing in May because of concerns that people with disabilities, a priority group for the federal government, had not been vaccinated.

Mr Sackville expects to release the findings of the hearing in the coming weeks after the federal government provides submissions.

Children aged 12 to 15 years with a disability can now access the vaccine as the government picks up the pace of the rollout.

Disability workers are being “strongly encouraged” by the federal government to get vaccinated, but it is not mandatory.

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