‘Not happy with the vaccine rates’: Victorian pop-up clinics for people with disability

By Jackson Graham

October 8, 2021

Victoria’s disability minister Luke Donnellan says he's dissatisfied with inoculation levels for the vulnerable.
Victoria’s disability minister Luke Donnellan says he’s dissatisfied with inoculation levels for the vulnerable. (AAP Image/Luis Ascui)

Victoria will open 10 pop-up vaccination clinics for people with disability as minister Luke Donnellan says he’s dissatisfied with inoculation levels for the vulnerable. 

The government has announced $5 million for the clinics, which are to open in local government areas of concern this month. 

At the end of September, 71% of Victorian NDIS participants over 16 had one dose of the vaccine, slightly above the national average but below the vaccination coverage in the general population. 

“We are not happy with the vaccine rates at the moment,” Donnellan said. “We can’t open up when we have people living with disabilities, with vulnerabilities, if they are not at a higher rate of vaccination.”  

Vaccinating NDIS participants is a federal responsibility that the Disability Royal Commission slammed last week as “seriously deficient” after finding people with disability had been relegated during phase 1a of the national vaccination rollout. 

Donnellan acknowledged the state was stepping in to accelerate vaccination levels. 

“We are opening up, we need to deal with this now. And that’s why we have stepped in,” he said. 

Areas with low vaccination uptake in Queensland will also be targeted with 19 pop-up  this weekend. 

Meanwhile, the federal government says the nation is on track to have administered 30 million doses of vaccines by the end of the week. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison lauded NSW’s passing of its 70% double-dose target, and said it had realised what other states and territories would soon achieve. 

“I want this to be a sign of hope for the rest of the country,” Morrison said. “Particularly those in Victoria who I’m mindful of today and here in the ACT where the lockdowns continue.” 

As NSW’s new premier Dominic Perrottet brought forward increased freedoms vaccinated people would get from Monday, Morrison said the state was acting consistently with health advice.  

“I have doubt the NSW government will proceed safely and cautiously, but they won’t be holding back at the same time,” he said. 

Morrison also acknowledged that Queensland and West Australia had passed the 50% mark of having their populations over 16 double vaccinated. 

“It’s a lot harder in those states because there isn’t the immediate urgency we are seeing in [other] states because of the lockdown,” Morrison said. 

“I continue to be impressed with what’s happening in Tasmania, where their vaccination rates are high yet their covid rates are very, very low.” 

Australia had more than 81% of the population over 16 years old with one vaccination dose on Thursday. 

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