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Disability advocate shares COVID-19 vaccination message

Tara Elliffe encourages people living with a disability to get vaccinated.

SydneyConnect Video: Disability advocate shares COVID-19 vaccination message

Disability advocate Tara Elliffe has a simple message.

"My message is to be brave and have the jab. It's okay. Just do it," she said.

Tara. 33, has been vaccinated against COVID-19 at the Vaccination Centre at RPA run by Sydney Local Health District.

She has Down syndrome and wants to encourage other people living with a disability to have the COVID-19 vaccination.

"I had my jab and it didn't hurt at all. I'm here to protect myself from COVID-19 my and families and friends," Tara, who lives with her parents, said.

People with Down syndrome are at increased risk from COVID-19. Adults with Down syndrome are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine under the Federal Government's rollout.

Down syndrome is a genetic condition which is caused when a person is born with an extra chromosome in all of their body's cells. It impacts intellectual development, some physical features and aspects of a person's physical health.

Down Syndrome NSW estimates there are up to 15,000 people in Australia with Down syndrome. It states it's the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition in the country.

Tara is on the organisation's advisory board. She is also a member of the Council for Intellectual Disability's advocacy committee and the City of Sydney's Inclusion (Disability) Advisory Panel.

In a submission to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with a Disability Tara said "Having Down syndrome can be fun but a challenge too. How other people treat me can be hurtful at times."

Tara has attended the World Down Syndrome Congress multiple times, including in 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland and was set to present at the 2020 Congress in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates before it was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She also works two days a week as an administrative assistant at the NSW Ombudsman and in her spare time likes watching movies, socialising with her friends, drinking coffee, travelling overseas (pre-COVID-19) and visiting family.

She plans to share her COVID-19 vaccination message with her friends, colleagues and the wider community.

"I'd like all my friends to roll-up their sleeve and have the vaccine too. If I can do it, then they can too," she said.

People are able to check if they're eligible for a vaccine, and book an appointment, through www.nsw.gov.au. The vaccine can be given by participating GPs, at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic or at the NSW Health Vaccination Centre at Sydney Olympic Park.

The NSW Health Vaccination Centre is located at 1 Figtree Drive, Sydney Olympic Park and is open from 8am to 8pm from Monday to Saturday.