Tuesday, 24 August 2021
Questions without Notice
My question this afternoon is to the Minister representing the Minister for Health, Senator Colbeck. How many children with a disability in Australia have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19?
On 2 August this year the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation reviewed the data on the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine and recommended that the following groups of children among those aged 12 to 15 years be prioritised for vaccination using Pfizer: children with a specified medical condition that increased their risk of severe COVID-19; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 12 to 15 years; and all children aged 12 to 15 in remote communities, as part of a broader outreach vaccination program that provides vaccinations for all ages greater than 12 years. The government is also ensuring that all children accessing or eligible to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme will have access to the Pfizer vaccine from Wednesday 25 August if they have not already had their vaccines.
As the medical advice and the vaccines have become registered for use in children we have followed that advice and made the vaccine available. From Monday 9 August the Pfizer vaccine has been opened for those with underlying medical conditions and, as I've indicated earlier, once ATAGI provides to us—
As I indicated to the chamber, on ATAGI's advice from Monday 9 August—only earlier this months—the Pfizer vaccine was made available to children in that age cohort. So I actually don't have the data on those that have been fully vaccinated, but we need to consider the process for commencement, whether the data actually exists at this point in time—(Time expired)
The vaccination of students with any vaccine in this country has commenced only since 9 August this year. That data is not yet available for people who are fully vaccinated, because three weeks hasn't passed for a full cycle of vaccination yet.
So it's very cute for the Labor Party to come in here and ask that sort of question, but, based on the medical advice, we've commenced and made available the vaccine as soon as approved for use and supported by the medical authorities. We will be able to provide the data once it's collected and once the full vaccine cycles have been completed. With respect to staff, I'm very happy to provide that information to the chamber as I can make it available.
Why has the Morrison government failed to track the number of children with disabilities and staff at their schools who are being vaccinated when people with learning disabilities have been seen to be eight times more likely to die from COVID than the general population?
Again, the Labor Party come in here and make an allegation that simply isn't true. There is a range of data that's being provided, supported and tracked. As I've indicated to the chamber, the vaccination of children has only been available since 9 August this year. A full vaccination cycle of three weeks has not yet passed. So for the Labor Party to come in here and ask that and imply that the data's not available is, quite frankly, dishonest. They know it can't have been made available yet because it can't be collected yet, because the time frames for collecting it haven't occurred yet.
Every single member of the Australian community is important to this government. It's only the Labor Party campaigning against the government— (Time expired)