Victorians with a disability will be eligible to receive free rapid antigen tests as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the state.
Victorians living with a disability will soon be able to receive free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests, as announced by Premier Daniel Andrews on Thursday as the state recorded 12,314 new COVID-19 cases and four deaths.
Supporting some of the most vulnerable of our community to be protected and live safely, the Labor Government will make two million RATs available to all NDIS participants and disability support pensioners over the next three months starting this weekend.
Given the higher risks associated with contracting COVID-19 for people with disability, the free tests will be a significant measure to help protect vulnerable Victorians by ensuring earlier diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
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“This virus doesn’t discriminate, but its effects are felt more harshly by the most vulnerable among us – including Victorians living with disability,” Andrews said.
“We’re providing millions of free Rapid Antigen Tests to those who need it most, helping keep Victorians with disability safe as we head into winter.”
From Saturday, April 9, RATs will be available at current testing sites and through Disability Liaisons Officers who have also helped more than 10,000 Victorians with disability access vaccines.
To help manage supply, those eligible – disability support pensioners and NDIS participants aged 16 and over – can collect up to 20 RATs per visit to a testing centre. Evidence of eligibility, such as an NDIS statement, will be required.
The program will initially run for three months, with a review to determine whether it should be extended.
Australian of the Year and disability advocate Dylan Alcott was part of the announcement, saying the free RATs would help ensure those with a disability could live their lives in a safe way.
“As Victorian and Australian of the Year, one of my priorities is making sure that people with disability can access as many RATs as they, their support workers, carers, and family need,” Alcott said.
“They deserve this so they can safely live their lives and get back to doing the things we all might take for granted.”
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The Labor Government prioritised the distribution of RATs to workers in sensitive settings and essential workforces in January – including essential workers in our health system, emergency services, and disability and aged care services.
You can read the announcement here.