Melanie Robertson

COVID-19 vaccination: current hubs, proof and more

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We need your continued help to ensure people with disability, their carers and disability workers have the right information and access to the COVID-19 vaccine in their community.

The Department of Health has issued its next Disability Provider Alert dated 18 October 2021

In this update you will find information on current hubs offering vaccination services, ways to get proof of vaccination and how to stay up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccine information.

This provider alert along with other resources and information about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is available from a dedicated web page for disability service providers on the Department of Health website. This page will be updated regularly and it is important that you check this daily.

Regularly updated information is also available on the following Department of Health webpages:

Thank you again for your help in spreading this important information with people with disability, their carers and with the disability workforce.

Providers may receive this information from other government agencies, including the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

Read the alert

Melanie RobertsonCOVID-19 vaccination: current hubs, proof and more
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Research on Electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters

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Invitation to Participate in Focus Groups

Health Professionals

University of Woloongong are conducting several rounds of focus groups for an Australian Research Council Project (Integrated Futures for Motorised Mobility Devices ARC LP180100913 in collaboration with partner organisation ATSA (Assistive Technology Suppliers Australia). We are interested in the experiences of people who work in industry and planning for people use Motorised Mobility Devices (MMDs-electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters). This includes health professionals, retailers and suppliers of devices, and government planners. We want to understand from these groups how they understand the challenges faced by people who use MMDs. Focus group questions may include for example, what are the particular challenges that face people who use MMDs, the benefits of using MMDs, and any particular issues that you identify as being significant to your industry or occupation. The purpose of the research is to make recommendations about how to better integrate people who use MMDs into transport and public spaces. The focus groups will take around 2 hours and you will receive a $100 Woolworths shopping voucher to compensate you for your time.

We invite you to read more about the project on our website: https://www.letsmovetogether.com.au/

An information sheet with full details about this stage of the project is available here.

You can indicate your availability for the focus groups via the doodle poll available here and we ask you to sign and return the consent form to Dr Theresa Harada at tharada@uow.edu.au

We are very grateful for your support of this project. If you have any enquiries or questions please direct them to tharada@uow.edu.au

This study has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee (Faculty of the Arts, Social Science and Humanities) of the University of Wollongong, (approval number 2019/503). If you have any concerns contact the UOW Ethics Officer +61 (02) 4221 3386 or email rso-ethics@uow.edu.au

Melanie RobertsonResearch on Electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters
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ACCAN – Disability Consultation Forum

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Below are details on an online consultation forum The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, ACCAN, will be holding regarding telecommunications issues faced by people with disability in Australia.

On Thursday the 25th of November, ACCAN will be holding an online consultation forum on telecommunications services for disability organisations and people with disability.

ACCAN’s Accessible Communications Roadmap outlines how Australian Telecommunications providers and digital media platforms could be made more accessible to people with disability.  If you haven’t already seen it, you can check it out at:

https://accan.org.au/our-work/1765-accessible-comms-roadmap

We are seeking input from our member organisations and the wider disability community to assist us in developing  the next stage in completing the roadmap – an action plan to encourage telecommunications providers to improve disability access to their products and services.

We are looking for feedback in several areas and we need your expertise and input.

Front-Line staff training

  • How well do staff who deal with customers, either face to face or in call-centres, understand issues faced by people with a disability?  Consider for example, if you contact a call-centre for assistance with your internet connection and they ask you how many lights are showing on your modem.  What happens when you tell them you are blind and can’t see the lights?
  • Do your telco call-centre staff know how to take relay calls?
  • When you visit a Telco shop, do the staff explain the various access features of devices, plans and other services? Do they assist you with setting up devices, activating plans etc.?  ?

Accessible Information

  • does your telecommunications provider offer you accessible information? Are the terms and conditions in your mobile plan clear and easy to understand?
  • Are you able to get your bill provided in an accessible format such as Easy English, Large Print, or Accessible PDF?
  • Can you readily access information about new products and services offered by your Telco on their website?

Accessible Services

  • How easily can you pay your bill? Can you use the smartphone app provided by your telco?  Can you use your telco’s website effectively?  Can you pay your bill at a shop or post-office and does this service meet your needs?

Emergency preparedness

  • Do your available telecommunications options and services help you to feel safe in your home?
  • Will you be able to access emergency services in a power outage?
  • Can you access public emergency text-messaging services and updates?

What about other services provided by your telco, such as upgrades, accessing additional offerings, plan inclusions, addons etc.?

The forum will be held from 1:00PM to 3:00PM on Thursday the 25th of November.  This is the chance to tell your telco story, both positive and negative.  We want to hear from as many people as possible.

We will be using Zoom, and auslan and captioning will be available with sufficient notice.  please let us know if you have any other accessibility needs.

If you are not able to attend the forum, or if you feel more comfortable submitting your story in writing, please let us know by E-mailing Vaughn.bennison@accan.org.au.

Find out how you can get in at the ground level to support the work of ACCAN in making telecommunications across Australia accessible for all people regardless of disability.

Registration for the forum is essential, so please click here to register.

Please remember to outline any accessibility requirements at time of registering to ensure we can accommodate them.  Registrations close on Monday the 22nd of November.

If you have any questions, please E-mail Vaughn.bennison@accan.org.au

Melanie RobertsonACCAN – Disability Consultation Forum
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COVID-19 vaccination: hubs for people with disability and support workers

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On 5 October 2021, the Department of Health issued a new COVID-19 vaccination – disability provider alert.

This alert includes updates to the disability providers page to be more user-friendly to get information on:

  • current hubs offering vaccination services for people with disability, their carers and disability workers
  • accessible state and territory based clinics
  • Vaccine Clinic Finder updates to compare clinics, check availability and book an appointment in one place.

You can find more COVID-19 vaccine resources and information on the Department of Health website:

Providers may receive this information from other government agencies, including the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

 

Read the alert

Melanie RobertsonCOVID-19 vaccination: hubs for people with disability and support workers
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ATSA Independent Living Expo Canberra under 8 weeks away

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It is just eight weeks until the doors open for the second ATSA Independent Living Expo, in Canberra and according to ATSA EO, David Sinclair “All indications are positive that we will be able to hold our third event for the year. We are watching, daily, the ACT press conferences. Click here for the current ACT pathway forward. We are in the final stages of planning our Annual General Meeting which will be held in Canberra on the afternoon of Monday, 22nd November 2021. In conjunction with this we have planned a workshop with NDIA and will provide more details as soon as possible. If and when anything changes in relation to borders opening and venue capacity we will certainly be advising all exhibitors and attendees as soon as possible."

It is positive news that the ACT and NSW are leading the vaccination rates in Australia with both the Territory and the State due to reach the 80% fully vaccinated threshold by late October triggering an easing of restrictions. Interpoint is in discussions with the venue to ensure COVID protocols are in place including sanitizer stations and distance control measures. “ The aisles are 4 metres and the hall size is more than 3000sqm which means that the event can meet any per sqm distance requirements currently in place” said Operations manager Claire Graham.

Meanwhile judging from the interest in the event the expo is shaping up to be very similar to the May Melbourne and Perth shows. There have been a number of exhibitors sign up in recent weeks – for the latest exhibitor list click here whilst visitor registrations are received daily with a number of the seminars reaching 60% capacity.

Interested in exhibiting or advertising in the expo directory? Please contact allison.miller@atsa.org.au Want to attend? Register for free www.atsaindependentlivingexpo.com.au

Melanie RobertsonATSA Independent Living Expo Canberra under 8 weeks away
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COVID-19 vaccination services

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On 31 August 2021, the Department of Health issued a new COVID-19 vaccination disability provider alert.

This includes:

  • Information on current hubs offering vaccination services.
  • Eligibility Checker updates – to help people find a clinic.
  • ATAGI statement 27 August 2021 on the 12 to 15 year age group.
  • NSW Health orders on vaccination requirements for authorised workers.
  • Getting your vaccine – information for people with intellectual disability. Booking link for webinar on Wednesday 1 September 11am AEST.
  • Clinics and hubs by state and territory – table with more information.
  • Social media posts to encourage people with disability to get vaccinated as soon as they can.

More information 

Providers may receive this information from other government agencies, including the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

Read the alert

Melanie RobertsonCOVID-19 vaccination services
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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Mandatory vaccinations for some disability workers in New South Wales

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From 30 August 2021, disability workers who live or work in a local government area (LGA) of concern must be excluded from entry into their place of work unless they have evidence of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or a medical contraindication certificate.

Key points

  • From 30 August 2021, disability workers who live or work in an area of concern must be excluded from entry into their place of work unless they have evidence of one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or a medical contraindication certificate.
  • Providers must ensure that where applicable, disability workers who provide in-person support to a person with disability, comply with these requirements.
  • Ensure that you and your workers understand what these mandatory requirements are, and how they affect the supports and services you deliver.
  • Registered NDIS providers are expected to maintain records of the evidence checks undertaken.
  • Review your business continuity and contingency plans to ensure that continuity of critical supports can be maintained with the new vaccination requirements.
  • Notify the NDIS Commission of any significant changes to services or supports as a result of COVID-19 restrictions or infections.

    Updated Health Directions regarding mandatory COVID-19 vaccination

    Under the Public Health (COVID-19 Additional Restrictions for Delta Outbreak) Order (No 2) 2021, the New South Wales Government has mandated that from 30 August 2021, disability workers who live or work in an area of concern must be excluded from entry into their place of work unless they have:

    • evidence of one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, or
    • a medical certificate showing medical contraindication.

    The current areas of concern are the following local government areas (LGAs):

    • Bayside
    • City of Blacktown
    • Burwood
    • City of Campbelltown
    • Canterbury-Bankstown
    • Cumberland
    • City of Fairfield
    • Georges River
    • City of Liverpool
    • City of Parramatta
    • Strathfield
    • The following suburbs of the City of Penrith: Caddens, Claremont Meadows, Colyton, Esrkine Park, Kemps Creek, Kingswood, Mount Vernon, North St Marys, Orchard Hills, Oxley Park, St Clair, and St Marys

    Disability workers must carry evidence of their vaccination or a medical contraindication certificate when entering their place of work and produce it if requested by an employer or other specified people.

    This applies to anyone who provides disability support services, in person, to a person with a disability, including services funded or provided under the NDIS.

    We encourage you to read the full details of the Public Health Order on the New South Wales Government website.

    Consistent with obligations under the NDIS Code of Conduct and the NDIS Practice Standards for providing supports and services in a manner and environment that is safe for participants, providers must ensure that disability workers who live or work in an area of concern and provide in-person support to a person with disability, comply with these requirements.

    Supporting workers to access the COVID-19 vaccine

    Please ensure that you and your workers understand what these mandatory requirements are, and how they affect the supports and services you deliver. Encourage your workers to arrange a vaccination or contraindication certificate, as relevant.

    NSW Health has set up priority clinics for people aged 18-39 who live or work in the LGAs of concern. You are also able to receive a vaccine at NSW Health clinics and participating pharmacies.

    Vaccination appointments can be booked via the Eligibility Checker.

    See below for links to additional information and resources for COVID-19 vaccinations.

    Provider obligations

    Record-keeping requirements for evidence checks

    In meeting NSW Government requirements for the purposes of mandatory vaccination requirements, registered NDIS providers should ensure that records of evidence checks are maintained.

    As part of worker records, providers are expected to maintain records of the evidence checks undertaken for applicable disability support workers to ensure they have:

    • Had at least one dose of a COVID vaccine; or
    • A medical contraindication certificate.

    Business continuity and outbreak management planning

    All providers are reminded of their obligations regarding continuity of critical supports, and to review business continuity and contingency plans for emergencies and disasters.

    You are encouraged to engage with workers on their vaccination status and their plans for vaccination. These discussions should inform your business continuity and contingency plans, and outbreak management plans.

    Refer to our provider alert of 6 August 2021.

    Notification of changes or events

    You must notify the NDIS Commission of any change or event that significantly affects your ability to comply with any of your conditions of registration, including compliance with the NDIS Practice Standards. You must use the COVID-19 notification of events form to report these changes.

    Your requirements to notify the NDIS Commission of reportable incidents under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Incident Management and Reportable Incidents) Rules 2018 are separate from the COVID-19 notification of changes or events and remain unchanged.

    NDIS Commission COVID-19 pandemic information and resources

    The Coronavirus (COVID-19) information webpage on the NDIS Commission website contains links to updates, training, alerts and other resources.

    We also have a COVID-19 webpage containing information for people with disability, and a webpage of frequently asked questions about COVID-19 for all stakeholders.

    NDIS Commission COVID-19 vaccination information and resources

    The COVID-19 vaccine information webpage on our website contains links to updates about COVID-19 vaccines and resources for NDIS providers.

    We also have a COVID-19 vaccine webpage containing information for people with disability.

    Contact us

    Call: 1800 035 544 (free call from landlines). Our contact centre is open 9.00am to 5.00pm (9.00am to 4.30pm in the NT), Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays.

    Email: contactcentre@ndiscommission.gov.au

    Website: www.ndiscommission.gov.au

Melanie RobertsonCoronavirus (COVID-19): Mandatory vaccinations for some disability workers in New South Wales
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COVID-19 vaccination blitz

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On 24 August 2021, the Department of Health issued a new COVID-19 vaccination disability provider alert.

This includes:

  • Priority Pfizer vaccination blitz for people aged 16 to 39 years in Sydney – disability care workers encouraged to make a booking as a matter of priority.
  • Victorian Government announces vaccination blitz for aged care and disability workforce.
  • Information on current hubs offering vaccination services.
  • Recommendations on children aged 12 to 15 years.
  • Vaccine information for people with intellectual disability – webinar on Wednesday 1 September.
  • Webinar recording and transcript available from the webinar on 5 August for people with disability, their families and carers.
  • New vaccine administration service providers have joined the phase 1a in-reach program.
  • Department of Health YouTube site – with resources for people with disability including videos in Auslan.

More information 

Providers may receive this information from other government agencies, including the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

Read the alert

Melanie RobertsonCOVID-19 vaccination blitz
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccines: Australian Government Department of Health Disability Provider Alert

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The Australian Government Department of Health (Department of Health) has issued a Disability Provider Alert with updated information for disability providers.
Key points

·       The Department of Health has issued a new Disability Provider Alert.

·       The alert contains an update on vaccination in disability residential settings, vaccine information for disability workers not eligible in phase 1a, and information about Easy Read resources.

·       The Department of Health is hosting a webinar for people with disability and their support networks on Thursday 5 August 2021 from 11.30am to 12.30pm AEST.

·       Information and support to access COVID-19 vaccinations should be facilitated, to both NDIS participants and workers.

Department of Health provider alert (2 August 2021)

The Department of Health has issued a COVID-19 vaccination – Disability Provider Alert (2 August 2021).

The alert contains important information about the continued rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, including:

·       an update about the phase 1a vaccine in-reach program to disability residential settings

·       information about the access to vaccines for disability workers not eligible in phase 1a

·       an updated Easy Read on the AstraZeneca vaccine, and a new Easy Read about the Delta strain of COVID-19.

We encourage you to read the provider alert for full details.

Webinar for people with disability and their support networks

The Department of Health is hosting a webinar for people with disability and their support networks on Thursday 5 August 2021 from 11.30am to 12.30pm AEST.

The panel, who will answer questions about the vaccination program, will be:

·       Dr Steph Davis - Deputy Chief Medical Officer

·       Ms Chris Faulkner - Assistant Secretary, COVID-19 Task Force – Disability

·       Grace Edward - Partnerships and Community Engagement Coordinator for the CALD COVID Health Engagement Project at Refugee Health Network Queensland.

Follow this link to register to attend the webinar.

We strongly encourage you to share this information with the people with disability that you support, and their support networks.

Promoting access to COVID-19 Vaccinations

Information about access to COVID-19 vaccinations should be promoted, to both the NDIS participants you support and your workers.

Supporting NDIS participants to access COVID-19 vaccinations

Our provider alert of 9 June 2021 contained resources to help you to support them to understand the vaccination process and to provide informed consent.

Our fact sheet, called ‘COVID-19 Vaccines: Informed consent, preparing for the vaccine, and restrictive practices’, aims to assist NDIS providers to better understand their obligations when supporting people with disability to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Australian Government Department of Health (Department of Health) has published an information page on their website for people with disability about COVID-19 vaccines. This page contains important information for providers and participants about COVID-19 vaccines, and will be updated regularly. A range of Easy Read and Auslan resources about the COVID-19 vaccines are also available.

We encourage you to visit this page.

Vaccination advice and information for disability workers

The Department of Health issued a Disability Provider Alert on 12 July 2021. This alert contained strong encouragement from National Cabinet for all disability workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, to protect your own health and the health of the people with disability you support.

We encourage you to read the full details in the alert.

The Department of Health has dedicated information pages for disability service providers about COVID-19 vaccines.

·       Providers: The webpage for disability service providers contains information and resources to help you plan for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

·       Disability workers: The webpage for disability workers contains information and resources about COVID-19 vaccines for disability workers.

The Department of Health will continue to update the information on these pages, so we strongly encourage you to visit these pages regularly.

NDIS Commission COVID-19 information and resources

The COVID-19 vaccine information webpage on our website contains links to updates about COVID-19 vaccines and resources for NDIS providers.

We also have a COVID-19 vaccine webpage containing information for people with disability.

Contact us

Call: 1800 035 544 (free call from landlines). Our contact centre is open 9.00am to 5.00pm (9.00am to 4.30pm in the NT), Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays.

Email: contactcentre@ndiscommission.gov.au

Website: www.ndiscommission.gov.au

Melanie RobertsonCoronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccines: Australian Government Department of Health Disability Provider Alert
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COVID-19 vaccination: webinar, disaster payment and CALD grants

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On 2 August 2021, the Department of Health issued a new COVID-19 vaccination – disability provider alert.

This includes:

  • vaccine in-reach program
  • access to vaccines for disability workers not eligible in phase 1a
  • Easy Read resources
  • registrations now open for people with disability, their families and carers – webinar 11:30 am AEST Thursday 5 August
  • COVID-19 Disaster Payment for workers affected by state public health orders
  • CALD COVID-19 Health Small Grants Fund to support multicultural community groups
  • social media posts for disability support workers.

You can find more COVID-19 vaccine resources and information on the Department of Health website:

More information will be published as it becomes available.

Providers may receive this information from other government agencies, including the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

Read the alert

Melanie RobertsonCOVID-19 vaccination: webinar, disaster payment and CALD grants
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