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:

  • you;
  • 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)

ELIGIBILITY

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:

You can check your eligibility on the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker and also check your state/territory health department’s website for any other eligibility rules.

Click here to read about who can get the vaccine.

You can watch this video on Medications, Getting the Vaccine if you’re in a Wheelchair, and Eligibility for People with Disabilities (Auslan)

INFORMED CONSENT

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:

  • doctor;
  • family;
  • carer;
  • 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.

Click here to read more about informed consent.

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:

Click here to read more about where you can get the vaccine.

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
  • friend.

You will still need to stay COVID Safe and practise good hygiene and physical distancing after you get your vaccine.

Click here to read more about getting ready for the vaccine.

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

Click here to read about 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.

Download the ‘Going to the GP to Get My COVID-19 Vaccine Social Script’ by clicking here.

Download the ‘Going to a Mass Vaccination Centre to Get My COVID-19 Vaccine Social Script’ by clicking here.

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.

Click here to read about the side effects you might have after your vaccine.

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)

NSW GOVERNMENT VACCINATION CLINICS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

NSW Government vaccination clinics for people with disabilities are now available in different areas across the State. These clinics have been equipped for people that require:

  • Wheelchair access.
  • Low sensory or private spaces (a private room or location away from general vaccination areas).
  • Longer appointments (to allow extra time to calm or inform the individual and improve confidence in the vaccination process).
  • Walk-in access (no appointment required).
  • Fast-tracked access (clinics allow priority access on arrival to reduce the waiting time in queues).
  • Interpreter services (professional healthcare Auslan interpreters are available for persons with hearing impairments. An Auslan healthcare service interpreter will be booked on your behalf by the vaccination clinic).
  • Separate entrances (options have been made available to use a separate entrance away from crowds).
  • Staff that have been trained in how to care for persons with disabilities.

Please note that this list of clinics does not include vaccination providers such as pharmacies, GPs, or Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS). You can speak to your pharmacist, GP, or AMS about your requirements and vaccination options.

These NSW Government vaccination clinics for persons with disabilities are accessible at the following locations:

Hunter Region

Greater Sydney

Central Coast

Far Western NSW

Illawarra Shoalhaven

Mid North Coast

Murrumbidgee

Northern NSW

Southern NSW

Western NSW

Visit the NSW Government website for more information on vaccination clinics for persons with disabilities.

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR DISABILITY SUPPORT AND SERVICES