Australia’s vaccination rollout for people with a disability and their carers will be put under the microscope during a special hearing of a royal commission.
Service providers expressed “deep concern” about low numbers of vaccinations in the early stages of the rollout, as well as a lack of information about its implementation, the disability royal commission said.
“Those concerns … have been expressed directly to the royal commission,” it said in a statement on Thursday.
“The concerns suggest that the rollout may not have implemented the priorities announced in the COVID-19 vaccine strategy or met the expectations of people with disability.”
The federal government’s decision to prioritise disability care residents and staff in phase 1a of the rollout and to younger adults with a disability in phase 1b was initially welcomed by the royal commission.
At the time, royal commission chair Ronald Sackville said the strategy was consistent with the commission’s recommendations, however the success of this approach will now be scrutinised.
The hearing follows a report, released in November last year, identifying failings by the federal government in addressing the needs of people with disability during the early stages of the pandemic.
Included in its recommendations was the drafting of guidelines addressing access to a COVID-19 vaccine “if and when one becomes available” for people with disability.
The one-day hearing will be held on May 17 and chaired by Mr Sackville.