House debates

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Vaccination

2:52 pm

Photo of Susan TemplemanSusan Templeman (Macquarie, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. New Haven Farm Home in my electorate has 39 residents with a disability. They were told to get ready in February for the COVID vaccination rollout. It's 25 May and they still have not been vaccinated. Does the government continue to argue that most priority populations have been vaccinated, as assumed in the budget?

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I will ask the Minister for Health and Aged Care to add to the answer. As he referred to in his last answer—he's updated the progress on the majority of those priority populations. In relation to the disability populations, more progress has been made than was being reported a week ago. And there is a lot more to do. One of the opportunities, as we were reviewing these matters again yesterday with the minister, was the in-reach capacity being able to be transferred from what we've been doing in aged-care facilities. This will greatly support the work that the minister is doing with the in-reach into the disability care sector in those residences, and I expect to see more of those being reached through those services. We do need to get more people in those facilities vaccinated and we believe that, with the progress we've made, particularly in the aged-care sector, we'll be able to deploy those resources to support that program.

2:54 pm

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

To add to the Prime Minister's answer and to address the question raised by the member, there are a series of priority populations, as I said. Firstly, let me reaffirm the point in relation to quarantine, which was the initial focus because that was the greatest source of potential ingress into Australia. Overwhelmingly, around Australia, the quarantine and border worker population has been vaccinated. That is our first line of defence. That is why—when you look around the world, with 580,000 cases a day on average over the last seven days—Australia has been overwhelmingly protected, with 94 days this year with zero cases of community transmission. It is the first ring of containment, the first priority. Secondly, what that does is it protects every element of the population in Australia. But, as well as that, the other frontline areas, of course, included those workers who are in our hospitals. It was overwhelmingly done for those in the frontline groups. Then, in terms of aged care, it has been done for 95 per cent of facilities around Australia. This is the highest vulnerability group on all of the medical advice. What we see, as I mentioned before, not just in the Whittlesea area—15 out of 15—but in the surrounding suburbs is that 66 out of 67 aged-care facilities have already received at least a first dose, with the remaining facility due in the coming days. In relation to disability, that is now where we begin to transfer the in-reach resources as we move to ensure that those who cannot visit a doctor are able to be provided with that support. The critical point about people with disability is that they have often missed out on vaccinations historically. So what we are doing is making sure that every person in disability care has the chance to be vaccinated, with— (Time expired)