Disability

People with disability may face unique challenges and risks during the COVID-19 health emergency.

People with disability, especially those who also have underlying chronic health conditions, may be at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and of experiencing severe illness. It is important for people with disability, their friends, families and carers to understand and follow health advice.

To ensure your health and safety, you can ask a support person the following series of questions before they visit your home:

  • Are you vaccinated?
  • Are you a close or casual contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case and has it been 14 days or less since your last exposure to the case?
  • Do you have any COVID-19 symptoms?
  • Have you been in a geographical area of risk in the last 14 days?
  • Are you currently in quarantine?
  • Do you live in a household with a person who is currently in quarantine or isolation?

The ACT Government has made easy read resources that can help people with disability understand COVID-19, testing, vaccination and quarantine.

The Community Services Directorate website has more information for people with disability and disability service providers including:

  • a COVID-19 planning tool for people with disability
  • resources to explain COVID-19
  • disability support services
  • personal protective equipment

Easy English documents and videos about COVID-19 have been developed for the ACT by Advocacy for Inclusion and are available on their Resources page.

Financial support

If you are unwell or cannot work because you are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test, you may be eligible for financial assistance.

The assistance will vary depending on your specific circumstances and eligibility.

Find out more about income, business, and other financial support available.

Testing and vaccination

Getting tested for COVID-19

Getting tested for COVID-19 helps keep you and the community safe. If you have even mild symptoms of COVID-19, get tested straight away then follow the advice of ACT Health.

There are testing clinics across Canberra, including some that take appointments.

There is a dedicated Access and Sensory testing site at the Garran Surge Centre for people with disability, children and young people with sensory or additional needs, and those who need additional support to undertake a test.

If you need to get tested but are having difficulty attending or getting to a testing site call ACT Health on 02 5124 6500 between 8.30am and 6pm.

Getting your COVID-19 vaccination

Getting vaccinated will help protect you from getting sick. To make an appointment call the ACT COVID-19 Vaccination Booking Line on 02 5124 7700 (option 3) between 7am and 7pm each day.

There is an Access and Sensory vaccination clinic within the Weston Creek Community Health Centre available for people with disability and their support staff, volunteer or carer attending the appointment. Please explain what help you will need when you make your booking.

The Access and Sensory vaccination clinic offers:

  • vaccinations for people with disability or mental health conditions and their support staff, volunteer or carer (only one additional person can attend the appointment and they must also have a booking if they are also getting vaccinated)
  • longer appointment times
  • quiet, large and separate rooms where vaccinations will take place
  • footstools and beds to keep people comfortable and ensure needs are supported
  • natural light throughout the clinic
  • a dimmable vaccination room for people who may be more sensitive to light
  • an accessible entry point for wheelchairs and other mobility equipment
  • parking directly in front of the clinic and is accessible to the clinic.

More information about vaccinations, and the Access and Sensory clinic is available on the COVID-19 vaccine page.

In-home COVID-19 vaccination

If a person with disability feels they may need to be vaccinated in their home because they have significant barriers to accessing other vaccination options, they can contact the ACT vaccination booking line on 02 5124 7700 (choose option 3 for the dedicated disability line).

Easy read information about vaccinations

The Australian Government Department of Health has also published a range of easy read resources and videos about preparing for and receiving a COVID-19 vaccination:

The Australian Government Department of Health and Inclusion Australia held a webinar to discuss the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccine and answer questions from people with intellectual disability and supporters. A recording of the webinar is available on the Department of Health website.

Transport for testing and vaccinations

There is a list of community transport providers on the Community Services Directorate website. These providers can provide transport to COVID-19 testing and vaccination appointments.

Food and essential needs

If you are currently in quarantine or isolation, there are multiple grocers and supermarkets that offer home delivery in the ACT, including Woolworths which operates a Priority Assistance service.

Find the full list of businesses that offer grocery home delivery.

Your rights

The ACT Human Rights Commission promotes the human rights and welfare of everyone in the ACT.

The Commission can investigate and conciliate complaints about discrimination and complaints about health, disability, older people, and young people services.

To make a complaint call (02) 6205 2222 or email human.rights@act.gov.au. You can choose to remain anonymous.

The Commission has Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander officers and a dedicated multicultural liaison officer who can help you access services and provide you with culturally appropriate support.

Mental health and wellbeing

The COVID-19 pandemic can be a worrying time for all Canberrans. The rapid changes and ongoing uncertainty can have a significant impact on the mental health and wellbeing of people with disability. Some people with disability may not understand the changes, are unable to receive their usual supports, or follow their typical routines.

The Community Services Directorate website has advice about services that can provide support for people with disability.

Information for services providers and carers

All disability supported accommodation providers must have a plan for how they would respond if a resident, staff member or visitor to the accommodation tests positive for COVID-19.

This checklist can be used by accommodation providers to prepare this plan. This checklist is to be used in conjunction with the advice in the Guidance to Shared Accommodation.

People who have been to a geographical area of risk should not visit or work in high-risk settings, including supported independent living homes, for 14 days after leaving these areas. This includes staff, volunteers and visitors.

Masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Advice for disability providers on COVID-19, including information about infection control and PPE, can be found on the ACT Health website.

Information about when a person is required to wear a mask is available on the Protect yourself page.

Priority vaccination appointments for disability support workers

Priority vaccination appointments are available for health, aged and disability care workers (and volunteers) to maximise vaccination coverage across this essential workforce. There is more information, including how to make a booking on the COVID-19 vaccination page.

ACT Office of the Senior Practitioner – restrictive practices

In the ACT, restrictive practices cannot be used to administer any voluntary medical procedures, including COVID-19 vaccines.

More information is available on the Community Services Directorate website, including a factsheet from the ACT’s Office of the Senior Practitioner.

Testing positive to COVID-19

More information on what to do if you test positive to COVID-19 is available on the What to do if you have COVID-19 page.

.

Accessing support

If you don’t feel comfortable visiting your care provider or a health professional in-person, we suggest you discuss options with them to receive remote services, such as telehealth appointments.

For questions or concerns regarding accessing community-based health services, including support for managing symptoms of long COVID-19, you can contact Central Health Intake (CHI) on (02) 5124 9977.

In the unfortunate circumstance that you contract COVID-19, there is information on what to do, including details on how your illness will be managed by the Care@Home Program.

acknowledgement icon
Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.

Last Updated: November 24 2021