Message from Disability advocate Tara Elliffe – “Be brave and have the jab.”
What is the vaccine?
A vaccine is a medicine that:
- helps people fight a virus if they come in contact with it;
- can stop people from getting very sick.
The COVID-19 vaccine is a safe way to protect:
- your family; and
- the community.
The COVID-19 vaccine teaches your body how to:
- know if the COVID-19 virus is there;
- fight the virus; and
- protect you from getting very sick.
You can watch this video on How Vaccines Work (Auslan)
People with disabilities are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Some people with disabilities have a higher risk of serious health problems if they get COVID-19, so getting the vaccine is very important.
People with disabilities who can get the vaccine include:
- all NDIS participants aged 16 years and over;
- all NDIS participants aged 12-15 years from Wednesday 25 August (for the Pfizer vaccine);
- people with disabilities who:
- have an underlying medical condition;
- significant disability;
- that attend services such as day programs, respite care and supported employment.
You can watch this video on Medications, Getting the Vaccine if you’re in a Wheelchair, and Eligibility for People with Disabilities (Auslan)
Anyone who gets the vaccine must give informed consent before they receive their dose. This means you have to say yes to getting the vaccine. No one can make you get it if you don’t want to.
The decision to receive your vaccination is your final choice (or the person who usually helps you make your decisions).
To ask questions about vaccine so you can make your decision, you can speak to your:
- substitute decision-maker.
To receive your vaccine, you need to provide consent to the person giving you your vaccination and, sometimes, your disability provider.
You might need to fill out a consent form if you don’t receive your vaccination from your regular doctor. Click here to see the form.
You can watch this video on Giving Your Consent (Auslan)
How to Book Your Vaccine
There are many ways that you can book your vaccine. You can:
- talk to your disability service provider;
- enter your suburb or postcode when you click this link and talk to a GP clinic that offers the vaccine;
- use the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker by clicking this link;
- call the Disability Gateway on 1800 643 787 (they are open Monday to Friday, 8 am to 8 pm).
Getting Ready for Vaccination Day
Whether you are getting your vaccination at home, going to a clinic, or a GP, you can choose if you want someone with you. This could be a:
- support worker;
- family member;
- carer; or
You can watch this video on Where to Get Vaccine Information and Having Support People With You at Your Vaccine Appointment (Auslan)
What to Expect When You Get Your Vaccine
Together with the National Disability Services, the autism advocacy group Amaze have developed ‘COVID-19 Vaccination Social Scripts‘, which are story-based strategies using images and descriptions to explain new experiences and social environments to autistic people (also suitable for anyone who is feeling nervous about the process of getting a vaccine).
How to use the social scripts:
- Download the social scripts and the vaccination questions below before your appointment.
- You can save the scripts to your phone or print them out to look at on the day.
- Read the instructions before your vaccination until you feel comfortable with the process.
- Download and read the Preparing for COVID-19 vaccination by clicking here. This document provides a list of ten questions you will need to answer before getting a COVID-19 vaccination. You might find it easier to fill these in at home and bring them with you.
- Let the person giving you the vaccination know that you have gotten ready for your vaccination by using a social script.
You can watch Amaze’s video on Preparing for Your COVID-19 Vaccination Appointment Here (Closed Captions)
Vaccine Side Effects
You may experience minor side effects after your vaccination. Most side effects only last for a couple of days and you will recover without any problems.
Some people will experience more significant flu-like symptoms from the vaccine compared to other common vaccinations and may need to take a rest from normal activities. For the Pfizer vaccine, these symptoms happen more often after the second shot and for the AstraZeneca, these symptoms are more common after the first shot.
You can watch this video on Side Effects from the Vaccine here (Auslan)
Your Support Workers
You have a choice over who supports you with your disability. You can ask your disability service provider to encourage your support worker to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
If your worker doesn’t want to be vaccinated, and this is an issue for you, contact your service provider. Your service provider will talk to you about other arrangements you can make. This may mean finding a different support worker for you.
You can watch this video on the Vaccination of Your Support Workers here (Auslan)
Accessing Your Supports and Services if you Choose Not to be Vaccinated
If a disability service provider or support worker stops giving you supports because you decided not to get the vaccine (or even because you have had the vaccine) it could be against the rules in the NDIS Code of Conduct. If this happens, you can make a complaint to the NDIS Commission by clicking here.
You can watch this video about Accessing Your Supports if you Choose to Not Get the Vaccine here (Auslan)
Contact Information for Disability Support and Services
- Disability Gateway Helpline, call 1800 643 787
- Disability Gateway website, visit www.disabilitygateway.gov.au.
- If you are deaf, hearing-impaired or speech-impaired, you can contact NSW Health through the National Relay Service by calling 13 36 77 and then asking for (02) 9391 9000.
- National coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine helpline, call 1800 020 080.
- If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.
- NSW Coronavirus Hotline, call 13 77 88
- To contact your Local Public Health Unit, call 1300 066 055.
- Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National), call 13 14 50 and ask for the National Coronavirus and COVID-19 Vaccine Helpline.