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The impact of and responses to the Omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic for people with disability Issues paper

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Publication date

Our issues paper is asking the public to share their views on the impact of, and responses to, the Omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic for people with disability.

The issues paper asks 14 questions to help people and organisations to provide responses. The paper is available in PDF and DOCX.

How to respond

We encourage responses from individuals and organisations by 29 April 2022. After this date, any comments about this issues paper can be made via the submissions process.

Responses to the issues paper can be provided, either:

  • electronically to DRCEnquiries@royalcommission.gov.au
  • in writing to GPO Box 1422, Brisbane, Queensland 4001
  • by phone on 1800 517 199 or +61 7 3734 1900, we can make a time with you to take your response over the phone (Monday to Friday, excluding national public holidays)
  • by audio recording
  • by video recording.

Responses can be in any language. The Royal Commission will translate the response to English.

We may make your response public unless you tell us not to.

Issues paper - The impact of and responses to the Omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic for people with disability (Auslan)

 

The impact of and responses to the Omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic for people with disability Issues paper

Background

On 17 February 2022, we issued a Statement of ongoing concern about the impact of the Omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with disability.

This statement said the government had ‘de-prioritised’ people with disability, and there was a lack of regard for their health and support needs.

We continue to hear how people with disability have been badly affected by the Omicron wave, that they aren’t safe and are not receiving the support they need.

We have now released an issues paper providing detail on:

  • how the Omicron wave has affected people with disability
  • what the Australian Government has done about the Omicron wave.

What we want to know

We would like you to tell us about your experiences so we can better understand a few things. In particular we want to know:

  • about the difficulties faced by people with disability during the Omicron wave like:
    • lack of access to Rapid Antigen Tests and PCR tests
    • lack of access to personal protective equipment such as face shields, masks, gowns and hand sanitiser
    • not enough disability support workers due to staff being unwell and limited replacement staff, leaving people without support.
  • When COVID-19 restrictions eased in late 2021 and early 2022 (eg when requirements to wear masks, isolate and lockdown were changed), how well did the government plan, prepare and respond to people with disability and keep them safe?
    • Did the government properly support people to get a vaccine? What stopped people from disability getting the vaccine? Was it a lack of staff to help with travel requirements? Was it a lack of accessible options like in-home vaccinations?
    • What was it like trying to find and use services and supports during the Omicron wave? Could you access them independently?
    • Was there enough information about what to do if you caught COVID-19 and had to isolate, and what to do if your symptoms got worse?
    • If there are future waves of COVID-19, what ideas and suggestions do you have for government and service providers to make sure people with disability can access support?

How to respond

At the end of our Issues paper, there is a list of questions about these topics. You do not have to answer every question. We value your experiences and suggestions.

You can respond in any way you like. You can record a video in Auslan, or have a support person translate your response into written English, or you can write it yourself.

We encourage people to respond by 29 April 2022.

To read the full Issues Paper, and for more information on how to respond, go to the Policy & research section on our website and click on Issues papers.

www.disability.royalcommission.gov.au/policy-and-research/issues-papers