Australian Greens Disability spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John has called for an urgent review into the Health Department to determine why disabled people have been discriminated against in the Morrison government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and, in particular, phase 1a of the vaccine rollout.
"Today’s evidence to the Disability Royal Commission is conclusive: disabled people and our support workers have been excluded from receiving priority vaccines as part of phase 1a of the vaccine rollout," Senator Steele-John said.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic so many people in our community have been living in fear and in isolation, with little information from the Morrison government about how we would be supported.
“Because of these ongoing failures we are now in a position where there are more Olympians who've been vaccinated than high-risk disabled people living in residential care!
“There should not be a single Health Department document relating to the pandemic that fails to mention disabled people, yet time and again we've seen our community not thought of, not factored in or actively excluded.
“When asked today if she was concerned that disabled people had been overlooked in the vaccine rollout, Health Department Associate Secretary Caroline Edwards stated that she could not comment. This response from a senior public servant is completely unacceptable.
“Quite simply, the treatment of disabled people throughout this pandemic has been discriminatory."