Advocates sound alarm on disability jabs

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Australians with disabilities feel "desperately unsafe" and fear they'll be left behind as the federal government ups the ante over state restrictions and border closures.

Just over 26 per cent of 267,526 National Disability Insurance Scheme participants aged 16 or older had been double-dosed, and 44.2 per cent partially vaccinated, by August 19.

Of 27,293 people with disabilities identified in the government's highest-priority group, slightly more than half had been fully vaccinated, with 67 per cent receiving one dose.

Disability Minister Linda Reynolds insists the government has picked up the pace, but concedes there is still a way to go.

It comes as the virus spreads into disability sectors in Canberra and Newcastle and Pfizer vaccinations open up to children with disability as young as 12.

"We've still got a way to go, but we are picking up the pace very rapidly," Senator Reynolds said on Tuesday.

She did not guarantee everyone with a disability would be vaccinated by the time over-16 vaccination targets of between 70 and 80 per cent were met.

At this point, the federal government wanted states and territories to ease restrictions and border closures despite COVID-19 in the community.

That wasn't good enough for People With Disabilities Australia president Sam Connor.

"We're hearing from community members every single day that they cannot get access to vaccinations, whether they're in 1a and 1b (priority groups)," she told AAP.

"We all feel desperately unsafe and we're living with this constant messaging around devaluing. Surely, in order to open up, we need to ensure those most at risk are made safe first."

Senator Reynolds stressed it was challenging to vaccinate people with serious and permanent disabilities, particularly those in shared residential accommodation.

Contact had been made with more than 80 per cent of people across 6000 such homes.

The minister also noted the rate of infection among NDIS participants was three times lower than the national average.

"That has happened because people at state and federal level have worked closely with providers, with unions, with carers to make sure that where there are outbreaks, we very closely manage (them) and do proper infection control," Senator Reynolds said.

Nearly 91,000 or just over 55 per cent of disability support workers who underwent a screening check had received one dose.

Labor's NDIS spokesman Bill Shorten said many people with a disability couldn't just turn up at a mass vaccination hub.

"There's a proportion of the population who are stuck in their homes. So we've got to get out to them," he said.

Since the start of the pandemic, 10 NDIS participants are confirmed to have died from COVID-19.

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