THE closure of the Hunter's only vaccination hub dedicated to people with a disability has sent a ripple of fear through the community.
A spokesman for Aspen Medical said on Sunday the hub has been relocated to Wallsend, will be back online on Monday, and will be opened up to people in the aged care sector.
"All pre-existing bookings have been advised of the change of location," he said.
The hub, a joint initiative between Aspen Medical, Life Without Barriers, and the federal government, has delivered 5,000 jabs to people living with disability, their families, carers, and support workers, since it opened in June.
However, members of the community remain fearful that the level of accessibility will not be as good and that the Wallsend hub will not be accepting walk-ins.
It is a race against the clock to vaccinate people with disability who are significantly more vulnerable to COVID-19. In the UK, 60 per cent of those who died from COVID 19 in the nine months to November 2020 had a disability.
Anna Brown, whose 15-year-old son Alex became eligible for the Pfizer vaccination in August, said she had tears of joy the day he received his first jab at the Newcastle Life Without Barriers hub. But the family is now in the dark as to how, when or where he will be able to get his second vaccination which he can receive after August 31.
The hub was accepting walk-ins only, and that was how she was planning for him to receive his second jab, Mrs Brown said on Sunday. Now there appears to be no way of knowing the next step, with no messages from Aspen Medical or Life Without Barriers.
"It's that territory of the unknown," she said. "Our kids are only approved for Pfizer, so we have just got to have a window for the vulnerable."
Attempts to book Alex in at other vaccination hubs have failed because they do not allow bookings for under 16-year-olds despite the fact he is eligible. It felt like an "enormous weight", Mrs Brown said. "I just feel like this group of people and their parents are in a big crack," she said.
After contacting Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon's office, Mrs Brown received an email from Aspen Medical late Sunday saying his next appointment was on September 1, but many other families still had not received an appointment, she said.
Ms Claydon said she had many questions about Aspen Medical's decision to withdraw from the Newcastle hub. "In recent weeks, we've seen just how vulnerable people with disability, their carers and support workers are to the COVID Delta variant."
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