ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

Media release: ACTCOSS welcomes expansion of ACT Government's COVID-19 vaccination program

30 July 2021

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has today welcomed the expansion of the ACT’s COVID-19 vaccination program including extended opening hours for the Access and Sensory Clinic and the inclusion of all social and community sector frontline workers as now eligible for vaccination.

ACTCOSS CEO, Dr Emma Campbell said: “Each week 2000 COVID-19 Pfizer appointments regardless of age are reserved for Canberra’s health, aged care and disability workers.

“Following advocacy from ACTCOSS and its members, the ACT Government has confirmed that all frontline social and community sector workers can now access these vaccination appointments.”

Eligible workers encouraged to seek vaccination under the broad ‘aged, disability and health care worker’ priority population include: people working in aged and disability care; people working in crisis assistance and support including domestic violence services and homelessness services; social and community services workers; home care workers; and alcohol and drug service workers.

Dr Campbell said: “Workers in these sectors are essential workers who are engaging with highly vulnerable populations. It is essential that they are given priority for vaccination to ensure the continuation of services if COVID-19 re-emerges in the ACT.

“It is also important that vulnerable recipients of community services have confidence that their support workers are vaccinated so they feel safe and protected.

“However, we are still awaiting clarification from the ACT Government on whether workers in the early childhood education sector can access priority vaccination. These essential workers also deserve protection as they remain on the front line supporting children and families even during COVID-19 outbreaks,” Dr Campbell continued.

Dr Campbell said that ACTCOSS remains concerned that many vulnerable people remain unvaccinated including people with disability, people living in congregate settings and others who are homebound.   

“Extension of opening hours for the Sensory and Access Clinic located within the Garran COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic will help to reach vulnerable populations.

“However, more work needs to be done by the Australian Government, in partnership with the Territory, to ensure that individuals living in congregate settings, people in receipt of NDIS and My Aged Care supports and others who are homebound urgently receive vaccinations,” Dr Campbell said.

The Access and Sensory Clinic, located within the Garran COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic, has extended its operating hours and is now open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8am to 3.30pm. Read more about more about the Access and Sensory Clinic by visiting covid19.act.gov.au/disability

Community sector workers can go online to book their appointment and identify as a ‘healthcare worker’ to ensure their vaccination is prioritised. Appointments can be booked by calling the ACT COVID-19 Vaccination Line on 02 5124 7700 (7am to 7pm, daily) or by using the ACT Government online booking system MyDHR.

ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations.

For more information or comment, please contact
Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617 or 02 6202 7200.