In just one week we received over 1,000 responses to our survey about the vaccine in the disability sector.
Here’s what you told us:
The majority of disability workers, over 65%, are on track to be vaccinated. They have either had two jabs, one jab or have an appointment already scheduled.
While only 20% of disability workers are currently fully vaccinated two-thirds of the workforce are ready to get a vaccine today.
Of the disability support workers who are not vaccinated, members told us their main hesitation to be vaccinated was wanting to be able to choose their vaccine and have support to take time off work to get the vaccine, so they are not financially worse off.
The Federal Government have said that vaccines are strongly recommended for workers in the disability sector. Read more about the vaccines here.
However, with less than 10% of NDIS participants vaccinated, and only 20% of disability workers - much more is needed to be done to ensure access.
Only 5% of disability workers have had access to the vaccine at work, and the majority have not been asked their vaccine status by their employer.
Following this survey, the Australian Services Union has written to the NDIS Minister, Senator Linda Reynolds, and asked her to do the following:
Make the Pfizer vaccine available to all disability support workers who want it ASAP (regardless of their age or where they work).
Make the Pfizer vaccine available in as many locations as possible – at workplaces, in regional hubs, in GP clinics, pharmacies, local hospitals.
Provide paid vaccine leave for all disability workers to access the vaccine in paid time. Disability workers should not have to choose between shifts and being vaccinated. This should include additional sick leave if anyone gets a side effect and does not have sick leave like so any casual workers in our sector.
Provide an additional paid leave day for all NDIS workers – including casuals – who get vaccinated by the end of the year in recognition of our essential work.
- Thank disability workers for the work they do and for getting vaccinated. This essential workforce looks after some of the most vulnerable members of our community.
There has been a lot of media attention about whether the government should mandate the vaccine, as they have already done for aged care workers.
Widespread vaccination rates are essential to keeping our community, and especially our communities vulnerable, safe. It is essential for ensuring our workplaces, communities and the economy can open up safely.
Members have told us that we can achieve this in the disability sector by improving supply, access and information. The Government must work with, support and reward the sector – not introduce mandates.
According to the Government, the medical expert panel that dealt with the vaccination of disability care workers made it clear we need incentives, not mandates in the sector.
Disability workers are essential. Your work can change lives and save lives. As frontline essential workers it is so important that the government stands with us and supports us, just as we support our community.
The ASU will always be by your side.
Book a time to speak with your Organiser to help ensure workers have access to paid vaccine leave at your workplace.
In the news
Illawarra Mercury: Call to make Pfizer vaccine available to disability support workers
The Australian: NDIS workers call for priority access to Pfizer
We surveyed over 1,000 essential disability workers.— Australian Services Union (@asu_nsw_act) July 18, 2021
Disability Union Secretary @nataliemlang said “The federal government has a responsibility to keep disability workers safe.”#ndis #COVID19nsw #auspolhttps://t.co/yD2QTfoqwj
ASU calls for disability support workers to be given priority access to the Pfizer vaccine and paid vaccine leave. Survey of 1000 workers shows concerns about potential side-effects from AstraZeneca has driven a reluctance to get vaccinated. @australian https://t.co/Cu0paKft5M— Ewin Hannan (@EwinHannan) July 18, 2021
As always, for the latest reliable information please visit www.health.gov.au or speak with your GP.