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The state government had vaccinated only 170 employees in support of people with disabilities in state facilities as of May 20, despite a goal set in March to vaccinate 900 employees within three weeks.

(AP Photo / David Goldman)

Disabled people living in home care and their auxiliaries were prioritized in the first phase of the national vaccine rollout, which began on February 22nd.

All disabled people living in state government nursing homes, around 520 people, were offered a COVID-19 vaccine yesterday. 421 people took up an offer to be stabbed, according to the Department of Human Services (DHS).

However, the DHS also told InDaily that the department has so far only provided a vaccine to 170 employees to support disabled shelters.

This is despite the March 10th announcement by Human Services Minister Michelle Lensink that 900 frontline workers working in government-run homes for the disabled will be vaccinated by March 31st.

A DHS spokesman said the rollout “started successfully” in March, but attributed the slow pace of vaccines to health recommendations issued on April 8, in which the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for under-50s was due to less frequent, but potentially fatal clots was recommended.

“Many employees are younger than 50 years and therefore could not receive the AstraZeneca vaccine as planned,” said the spokesman.

According to budget papers 2020-21, more than 1,600 people work at DHS to support disabled people’s accommodations, with the current number of vaccinated employees to support disabled people making up around 10 percent of the workforce.

The DHS said it was taking “steps” to ensure employees have access to an appropriate COVID-19 vaccine, including running an in-house vaccine advertising campaign and assisting workers with access to vaccinations on paid working hours.

“[We are] Working closely with SA Health, employees with disabilities have offered the Pfizer vaccine, and many employees with disabilities have already received or booked a vaccination through SA Health, ”said a spokesman.

More than 250,000 people in South Australia have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The introduction is currently in the third phase.

The Office of the Secretary of State for Human Services Michelle Lensink declined to expand the DHS’s comments.

Nat Cook, Minister of Human Services at Shadow, said the current pace of the state government’s introduction of disabled workers is “appalling” and “none of the excuses they have put forward should warrant a six-week delay in the program.”

“The people at a specifically higher risk of developing COVID and those who care for them just need to be a priority,” Cook said.

“When people were prioritized in hospitals [and] First line rescue workers have been prioritized. Why not put people who support people with high vulnerabilities in group homes high on the list too? “

“If the direction changes which vaccine should be given which age group, I’ll accept that, but it’s not [the Department’s] entire workforce. “

The numbers come after it became known on Monday that only six disabled people and four support workers in home disability care in South Australia were vaccinated on May 6 as part of the federal government’s in-reach program.

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At that point, more than 2.5 million Australians had received a COVID shock.

The figures, labeled a “pathetic failure” by the Royal Disability Commission attorney, did not include disabled people or auxiliary workers who had been vaccinated in state clinics or by their family doctor.

AnglicareSA, which manages 25 sheltered homes with 93 disabled residents, says no staff or residents at its facilities have been vaccinated as part of the federal government’s in-reach program.

Executive General Manager Disability Services Ian Byrne Some AnglicareSA employees and two residents had received their first dose at a state clinic or general practitioner. The organization expects federal government contractors to start vaccinating their facilities by the end of the month.

Byrne said he was concerned about the pace of the rollout, adding that “we want the people we support to have access to clear and reliable information about vaccine options and availability”.

“While this is a voluntary vaccination decision and we understand it will continue to do so, uncertainty and confusion about vaccine availability and the process of obtaining a vaccine only add to the level of anxiety people experience in vulnerable circumstances,” said Byrne.

“We started delivering vaccines to customers in February this year and we remain ready to assist our customers with their choice.”

The DHS found that there were a variety of reasons why not all disabled people in government shelters had been vaccinated, including some who were not healthy enough to receive the vaccine, whose legal guardians did not consent, or who were required to be given Hospital.

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