Top official defends the introduction of disabilities | The islander

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The head of the Australian Ministry of Health has defended giving nursing home residents a higher priority in getting coronavirus vaccination than people living in disability care.

A draft report from the Royal Commission found that the department’s decision to give priority to elderly care residents in March slowed the onset of incapacity.

Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy told the Senate Coronavirus Committee Tuesday that residents with disabilities will continue to stay in the highest priority group.

“We haven’t stopped providing disabled-friendly services, but we have made residential elderly care a higher priority when the complexity of adopting elderly care was recognized,” he said.

“That probably saved over 1,000 lives in the elderly because all of our advice was that this was the single population at greatest risk.”

Professor Murphy insisted that residents with disabilities were not “belittled” and indicated that death rates were lower than those of the general population as a sign of success.

However, he acknowledged that the shift in focus to elderly care had increased the rate of vaccination in the sector.

“Certainly, the vaccination rate for caring for disabled people was significantly lower at the time, as the elderly care residents clearly need to be vaccinated to save the life we ​​did.”

Labor Senator Kristina Keneally said the disabled community felt they were not consulted on the decision.

Prof. Murphy said officials are now meeting weekly with representatives from the disability sector.

“We have had active and genuine advice. There will always be some people who feel that they are not meeting their needs,” he said.

However, the Minister of Health refused to go directly into the findings of the Royal Commission’s draft report as it was not formally sent to the government.

The commission warned that it would be extremely unfair and unscrupulous for Australia to open up before people with disabilities had a chance to be vaccinated.

Vaccine Adoption Coordinator John Frewen said all people would have the opportunity to get vaccinated once the 70 percent double-dose vaccination threshold was reached.

The committee heard that 75.2 percent of people living in a National Disability Insurance Community shelter had received a dose, while 66.7 percent were fully vaccinated.

Australian Associated Press


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