House debates

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Questions without Notice

COVID 19: Vaccination

2:45 pm

Photo of Graham PerrettGraham Perrett (Moreton, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Education) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Christopher from Annerley has multiple sclerosis and lives in residential disability care. He was supposed to be vaccinated by Easter but has still not received his first dose and he is not being allowed out into the community as a result. Residents in his centre have been told they need to find their own vaccination. Does the government continue to argue that most priority populations have been vaccinated, as assumed in the budget papers?

2:46 pm

Photo of Greg HuntGreg Hunt (Flinders, Liberal Party, Minister for Health and Aged Care) Share this | | Hansard source

I'm pleased to be able to take this question in terms of both aged care and disability—priority populations—and I will run through both. We begin with the fact that quarantine—overwhelmingly done around the country, a priority population. The front-line healthcare workers—overwhelmingly done around the country. And then in terms of aged care, the figures that I have before me are that, so far, there have been 4,194 facilities which have been dosed in terms of the priority population of which 95 per cent, 2,443 of Commonwealth facilities, have received them. Interestingly, in the northern suburbs of Melbourne in particular, in the Whittlesea area, which is undergoing restrictions, there are 15 residential aged-care facilities. Every one of them has had not just one but two doses.

In relation to disability, the advice that I have is there have been so far 245 facilities with first doses, 36 facilities with second doses; that's an increase of 41 in the last 24 hours. The total figures of those within that priority population which have followed and were always intended to follow the in-reach of aged-care facilities is there are 8,440 residents that have had vaccinations in one way, shape or form. That means 5,855 individuals, 8,440 vaccinations all up.

There are four ways, four channels, for vaccinating people within disability. One is in-reach, where it is done by Commonwealth providers, and those numbers are increasing as we have seen with over 40 done just yesterday—different facilities. The second is general practice in-reach—that is, the providers themselves seeking the opportunity to be able to facilitate the support for the population at their request. If the member has a different view to the providers then he is perfectly entitled to have that view, but I respectfully disagree. The third option that's available is that facilities are able to visit general practices for the over-50s for their AstraZeneca vaccine. The fourth option that's available is that facilities with their residents are able to visit either state Pfizer clinics or Commonwealth Pfizer clinics. So what we see is that the priority populations that you ask about are overwhelmingly complete: firstly for the quarantine, overwhelmingly complete; secondly, for the frontline health and medical workers, overwhelmingly complete; thirdly, overwhelmingly complete for the aged-care workers; and fourthly, in relation to disability, accelerating at a rapid pace.