All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged over 16, as well as all National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants aged over 16 and all residents of the Northern Territory, will now be eligible to access the CCP virus vaccines.
This comes after the national cabinet approved the expansion last week to speed up the vaccine rollout across the disability sector, which will see dedicated hubs for people with disabilities, support workers, and primary carers.
“We are working quickly to provide more locations for people to receive their vaccination in safe, accessible settings,” Disability Minister Linda Reynolds said on Tuesday.
“It is a particularly important step forward that both paid and unpaid carers of NDIS participants are now able to get the vaccination as soon as possible.”
However, while people in disability care were considered the highest priority group, the vaccine rollout is still months behind schedule, although the number of vaccinated NDIS participants is slowly growing.
Currently, almost 40,500 NDIS participants (16 percent) have received at least one dose of a vaccine against the COVID-19. While more than 7,800 NDIS participants living in group homes and aged care settings—28 percent of the population—have been given at least one jab.
Following Friday’s national cabinet meeting, the Northern Territory is also opening eligibility to all residents aged over 16 in the jurisdiction from Tuesday.
Since mid-May, only Territorians outside of Darwin, where there is a higher percentage of vulnerable groups, such as Indigenous Australians, were eligible.
“This means all the (vaccine rollout phases) are now collapsed for the Territory,” Chief Minister Michael Gunner told reporters on Monday.
“This is a sensible decision based on our indigeneity, mobility, and vulnerability when you consider not just the make-up of the Darwin population but how people move in and out of Darwin.”
Gunner thanked Prime Minister Scott Morrison, saying he had been assured the NT would receive the supply of Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines needed to relax the rollout phases.
The decision to discard the phases for Alice Springs and other remote communities comes before an expected influx of interstate tourists.
AAP contributed to this report.