Elderly trump disability residents for jab

·1-min read

Elderly Australians in nursing homes are being prioritised over disability residents, senior health officials have told a federal parliamentary committee.

"We have deliberately focused on aged care residents," health department associate secretary Caroline Edwards said on Tuesday.

Of about 6000 disability residential facilities in total, just 100 had received the vaccine, Ms Edwards said.

A total of 1640 doses have been delivered out of 25,000 people in disability residential care.

"Disability facilities has been a much slower start than we would have liked," she said. "We're now turning our attention to that."

Labor senator Katy Gallagher said she wasn't aware vulnerable people in the 1A category had been prioritised in this way, with disability residents still waiting.

Health department secretary Professor Brendan Murphy said the end of May should see a completed rollout for aged care, while the disability reset is on the agenda for the next national cabinet meeting on Thursday.

"The disability workforce still needs some further inreach and action," he said.

Senator Gallagher questioned why the disability rollout was a matter for national cabinet when it was clearly a federal responsibility.

Pfizer will continue as the vaccine of choice for aged care residents, because the rollout is "so well advanced", Professor Murphy said.

But the split between the use of AstraZeneca and Pfizer hasn't been decided for the disability rollout.

Ms Edwards said disability residents lived in much smaller facilities and there had been relatively few infections.