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Vaccinations for people with disability

All people aged 5 and over can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. People with disability can access assistance to ensure they are able to be vaccinated while meeting their access needs.

Vaccine clinic finder

You can use the Vaccine clinic finder to locate the nearest place to get a vaccination, including:

  • general practitioners (GPs)
  • community pharmacies
  • other clinics, including Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

Getting vaccinated at home

If you need assistance to get vaccinated in your home, there are ways to get the vaccine:

  • speak to your GP or other health provider and ask for assistance. They may be able to come to your home to vaccinate you or organise for someone else to do so
  • contact the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 and select option 5 for disability
  • call 134 COVID (13 42 68) and ask for assistance. This helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Deaf and hard of hearing access

If you are Deaf or hard of hearing, please contact the National Relay Service on 1800 555 727 and ask to be directed to a health service. They can connect you to 134 COVID (13 42 68) or the National Coronavirus Helpline.

Informed consent for persons with a disability

Everyone, including those with a disability and residents in disability accommodation, must provide valid consent before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

If you choose to get a COVID-19 vaccine, the staff where you live or at the location you go for vaccination will ask you whether it is okay to give you the vaccine. It is your choice to have the vaccine or not.

You may choose to talk to a health professional about the benefits and risks of vaccination and read about COVID-19 vaccinations. This will help you decide if vaccination is suitable for you.

There are also additional resources available from the Australian Government to assist you to understand and decide if you want to get vaccinated:

Consent from authorised people

If you can't give consent, someone who is allowed to make decisions for you can give consent for you. If someone is giving consent to receive a COVID-19 vaccination on your behalf, they can refer to the Office of the Public Guardian’s Consent process for COVID-19 vaccination.

Service providers giving consent for residents

In some cases, the service provider (the residential care home or other disability accommodation service manager) may be required to assess the ability of a person to understand what being vaccinated will mean for them, and be satisfied they can:

  • fully comprehend the proposed treatment
  • discuss the vaccination and its potential side effects
  • provide their written consent prior to receiving the vaccine.

More information

Getting ready

Duration 00:03:02

Hi, I'm Alex and I want to help you get ready for your COVID-19 shot and appointment. You might have heard about the COVID-19 vaccine. This video will help you get ready for your appointment.

Remember, you can talk to your doctor if you have any questions about the vaccine. You can ask about how the vaccine might affect other health problems you have, what risks there are, how the vaccine could help, which vaccine you will get or any other questions you have.

Once you have an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine, there are things you can do to be ready. If you want support, tell a support worker, friend or carer about the appointment and how they can help. If you need transport to your appointment, ask your service provider or a support person to help. If you need a ramp to access the clinic or need an interpreter such as an Auslan interpreter, it's a good idea to contact the clinic before your appointment to let them know. You can ask someone else to call the clinic for you.

Giving your consent to get vaccinated is important. If someone supports you to make decisions, you can talk to them about giving your consent to have the vaccine. There is a form you can fill out together and bring to your appointment.

On the day of your appointment, there are a few things you need to bring with you. Your photo ID, such as your driver's licence or Companion card. Your Medicare card. A work ID, if you're having the vaccination because of your job, including if you are a carer or a healthcare worker. A printout of your appointment email, if you have one. The name of your GP or any specialist doctor you see, if you're not getting your vaccination from them. Information about any medical conditions you have and medications you're taking. Information about any vaccine you've had in the past 14 days. Having this information ready will make it easier on the day. Your family support worker or carer can help get all this organised before your appointment.

If you feel unwell on the day of your appointment, you or the person supporting you, can change your booking for a day when you feel better. While you're unwell, make sure to keep up COVID safe behaviours, such as washing hands regularly, social distancing, staying at home or getting a COVID-19 test if you have any symptoms.

So, now you should know more about how to prepare for your vaccination appointment.  Remember, you can always talk to your GP or the people who support you if you have any concerns or questions about getting the vaccine.

Getting vaccinated

Duration 00:03:02

Hi, I'm Alex and I want to help you understand what happens when you go to get your COVID-19 shot. You might have heard about the COVID-19 vaccine. This video is about what happens during your vaccination appointment.

On the day of your appointment, you can bring someone you trust with you, such as a family member, a friend, a support worker or a carer. They can stay with you the whole time.

When you get to the clinic, let a clinic worker know if you have any disability access or language interpreter needs. Once you've reached the check in desk, someone will take down your details and ask for a booking confirmation email, if you have one. Once they've confirmed your details, you will be asked to wait to see a nurse.

If the nurse is still finishing another appointment, you may need to wait a little while. When you go to see the nurse, they will ask you a few questions. It's best to bring information about any medical conditions you have and medications you take to your appointment. If you have a disability health passport such as Julian's Key, it's a good idea to bring it. This will help with answering these questions.

They will also ask you if you give your consent to have the COVID-19 vaccine today and a second dose of the vaccine later. If you have signed a consent form, you or your support person will need to provide it.

After they talk to you, they will give you the vaccine. The nurse has been trained and knows how to give you the vaccine the right way. The nurse will choose where to put the vaccine. It usually goes into your upper arm. If you are not comfortable, you can let them know. Sometimes getting a vaccine can hurt a little when they put the needle in. It'll be over quickly. Tell the nurse if you are worried.

After you get the vaccine, you will be asked to wait 15 to 30 minutes before you leave.  This is to make sure you don't have any allergic reaction to the vaccine. You will wait in a waiting area. Staff will be checking in with you regularly to make sure you're okay.

They will also give you or the person supporting you important paperwork, including an appointment for your second vaccine dose. If you're feeling okay after the 15 to 30 minutes and have all your paperwork, you are free to leave.

Sometimes your arm can feel sore after getting the vaccine. This should go away in a few days.

So, now you should know what to expect on the day of your appointment. Remember, you can always talk to a support person, your doctor or a family member if you have any concerns before or after your appointment. Staff at the vaccine clinic will do their best to look after you and make sure you feel comfortable during your appointment.

Duration 00:03:07

Hi, I'm Alex and I want to help you understand the side effects you can get from the COVID-19 shot. You might have heard about the COVID-19 vaccine. This video is about COVID-19 vaccine side effects.

After you've had the vaccine, you might feel some side effects. This is normal and can happen to many people. Most side effects you get after a COVID-19 vaccine won't make you very sick and will go away after a couple of days. We call those common side effects. Some common side effects are mild fever or chills, headache, muscle pain, feeling unwell, swelling in your arm where the needle went in, joint pain, tiredness and nausea. While common side effects can make you feel unwell or uncomfortable, they won't last long. If they don't go away after a couple of days or if you feel worried, you should talk to your doctor.

Remember, these side effects can be different for everyone and some people may need more support after being vaccinated.

Some side effects are serious. These side effects are rare, but it is important that you know about them—really bad headaches that don't go away, blurred vision, having trouble breathing, chest pain, pain in your stomach, swelling in your leg and tiny blood spots on your skin. These side effects can be caused by a rare but dangerous blood clot. If you experience any of these serious side effects, you should call triple zero (000) right away or let your support worker or family member know immediately, so you can see a doctor as soon as possible.

A blood clot happens when your blood gets thick. There are blood clots that are safe, like when you have a cut, but there are also blood clots that are not safe. There is a dangerous and rare type of clot that has been linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. It's called TTS or thrombosis with thrombocytopenia.

Developing this type of blood clot is very rare. You are much more likely to develop a clot in your day-to-day life, for example, from surgery or being on a plane for a long period of time. TTS can be very scary, but doctors know how to treat it. It is important you know what to look out for.

Remember, it's your choice to get the vaccine.  If you're worried about any side effects or would like more information, talk to your doctor before you get the vaccine, they understand the risks and can help you make the right choice.

Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM talks about the COVID-19 vaccine

Duration 00:01:24

Hi, I’m Dinesh Palipana.

I’m a doctor at the Gold Coast University Hospital. I’m a lawyer, disability advocate and the 2021 Queensland Australian of the Year.

I have a spinal cord injury. And the spinal cord injury puts me at increased risk of complications and death from COVID-19.

I’m also a frontline healthcare worker, so getting the vaccine for myself and for my loved ones around me, like my mum who has asthma, was really important. And so I got the vaccine as quickly as I could.

I was confident when I got the COVID-19 vaccination. As a kid, I got so many different vaccinations to protect me from diseases when I was growing up in Sri Lanka. When I became a doctor, I got even more vaccinations.

I know how much research goes into making vaccinations safe and therefore I could get the jab with confidence.

There is some evidence that after about six months, immunity from vaccinations if you’ve had two doses, can wane. So it’s important to get a booster shot, especially now when COVID is experiencing more waves.

It can increase the protection against the virus. It can strengthen immunity, and it can keep you protected for a longer period of time.

Duration 00:01:21

Person 1:       I was not afraid to get the vaccine.

Person 2:       I was a bit scared of it at first when I talked to my sister.

Person 3:       Yeah, I did not feel scared.

Person 4:       It protects you and you don’t get COVID as bad.

Person 1:       All my friends got the vaccine.

Person 3:       I took the vaccine because I did not want to feel unwell.

Person 5:       So, I didn’t want others being sick.

Person 4:       Being vaccinated means that I’m protected.

Person 3:       I’m really looking forward to going to the movies and having a good time with my family.

Person 2:        Go on holidays.

Person 5:       I’m looking forward to seeing my family and friends.

Person 4:       I want to do more stuff and I want to do more holidays.

Person 3:       You should get the vaccine for your health. I feel strong and powerful.

Person 2:       I feel great.

Person 1:       Just do it. Just get vaccinated. And why not?

Person 2:       They should get the vaccine. It’ll be all ok. You’ll be safe.