COVID-19 and vaccine access: hearing, finding and recommending

What has the Disability Royal Commission heard?

The Disability Royal Commission has heard about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns on Autistic people, as well as the barriers to vaccination and low vaccination rates among people with disability.

It has heard from:

  • Two unnamed parents of Autistic children about their experiences of lockdown, including the impacts of home schooling, the loss of formal and informal supports, financial stress and increased loneliness, isolation and despair.
  • Tim, a 25 year old non-speaking Autistic man about his increased anxiety during lockdown and the impacts of losing routine, social connections and formal and informal supports.
  • The parents of Rudy, a 12 year old boy, about the impacts of playground closures with no exemptions for children with disability to access playgrounds to meet their sensory needs.

What has the Disability Royal Commission found and recommended?

In 2021, the Disability Royal Commission found that the Australian government’s response to the pandemic and vaccine rollout had failed people with disability, including autism. It recommended that the Australian government consult with and improve protections and supports for people with disability during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and in any future emergency situations. For more information, please see Public Hearing Report 5 .

It also made recommendations to the Australian Government to ensure all people with disability, particularly NDIS participants, people living in residential disability accommodation and people with intellectual disability have the opportunity to be fully vaccinated. For more information, please see Public Hearing Report 12.

We will update this page when the Disability Royal Commission makes recommendations to improve the experience of Autistic people during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and to improve vaccination access.

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