Disabled may need to wait longer for jabs

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Disabled Australians living in group homes may need to wait for aged care residents to be fully vaccinated before receiving their first dose.

Several large disability service providers are concerned many of their clients have not received a coronavirus vaccine, despite being included in the highest priority group of the national rollout.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the vaccine rollout in disability care was being completed as quickly as possible.

“We’re about halfway through those residential groups and will be having in-reach services, particularly once we’ve been able to get two doses to every aged care facility across the country,” he told ABC radio.

“They’re a highly disparate group amongst the community. They’re in a lot of different places and are largely in small groups in these facilities.”

Mr Morrison said it was not a simple exercise.

“It really is quite a painstaking exercise.”

The prime minister was concerned the virus would sweep through vulnerable disabled and Indigenous communities.

“We haven’t seen the COVID virus impact those communities like we feared,” Mr Morrison said.

“That is a great tribute to all the health workers and all those who work in those sectors.”

Coronavirus vaccines are not yet compulsory for workers in disability care.

But if vaccination rates do not improve by August, a national panel of medical experts will consider making it mandatory in high-risk settings.

Disability workers may be required to receive their first dose by October 31 in order to keep their jobs.

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