Expanded vaccine access for NDIS participants

All NDIS participants aged 12-15 years will be able to receive a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from this Wednesday, 25 August.

All NDIS participants aged 16 years and over became eligible in June.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said today’s decision by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) would make a big difference to the lives of children with disability and their families.

“Today’s announcement is welcome news to the disability sector and government and will help ensure some of our most vulnerable Australians can be vaccinated as soon as possible,” Minister Hunt said.

“This is an important protection for over 40,000 children with disability and we encourage their parents and carers to book them in for a vaccination and ensure they can be protected against COVID-19.”

NDIS participants join the current cohort of children aged 12-15 to be prioritised for the Pfizer vaccine, including:

  • children with specified medical conditions that increase their risk of severe COVID-19, including severe asthma, diabetes, obesity, cardiac and circulatory congenital anomalies, neuro developmental disorders, epilepsy, immuno-compromised and trisomy 21
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
  • all children aged 12–15 years in remote communities, as part of broader community outreach vaccination programs that provide vaccines for all ages (≥12 years).

Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC welcomed today’s announcement.

“I have made representations to Minister Hunt calling for eligibility to be expanded to all NDIS participants aged 12 to 15 years. I am so pleased ATAGI has now approved this expansion in the vaccine rollout for NDIS participants.

“I will continue to work with the disability sector and am passionate about ensuring our most vulnerable Australians are vaccinated as soon as possible.

“The COVID-19 vaccine rollout to the disability sector continues to increase at pace and there are now more than 8,200 vaccination points available.

“More than 123,000, or 46%, of NDIS participants over 16 years have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 28% have received two doses. This is an increase of more than 90,000 participants and a 300% increase since early June.

“More than 18,500, or 68% of NDIS participants in shared residential accommodation have received at least one dose, and almost 53% receiving two doses. This is an increase of more than 12,300, meaning we have tripled the number of people vaccinated since early June 2021.

“Many participants require bespoke vaccination arrangements that are more complex than in the general population and aged care facilities.

This includes the crucial need to ensure informed consent or appropriate decision-making for individuals before the vaccine is delivered and administered.

“There has been a concerted and sustained effort across Government and the disability sector to communicate the importance of vaccination, and to increase the points of access available to people with disability, including specialist disability vaccination hubs.”

The Government expects further recommendations regarding the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for the remainder of children aged 12 to 15 shortly.

Parents and carers should check the COVID-19 eligibility checker from 25 August to book in their child’s vaccination.