Majority of aged care staff unvaccinated as government considers mandate
The positive diagnosis of a Victorian aged care worker with COVID-19 has thrust problems in the sector’s vaccine rollout back into the national spotlight.
The case has revealed staff are still working across multiple facilities, and a Senate estimates hearing has heard there is no central record of how many aged care workers have been fully vaccinated.
With the Victorian government blaming the federal government for botched rollout, Jim Wilson called for an end to the “sniping”.
He demanded governments and aged care leaders instead focus instead on finding a solution.
“All must share the responsibility for what’s a seriously flawed system.”
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Holy Family Services CEO Alexandra Davis told Jim Wilson less than 40 per cent of her staff have been fully vaccinated, in part due to the need to miss work and/or travel to receive the jab.
She called on the federal government to reintroduce in-house vaccinations for aged care facilities, and backed mandatory vaccination for the sector.
“We’d be looking at around about another 120 staff that still would like to be vaccinated.
“Everyone has the right to choose, that’s part of our human rights.
“But at the same time, when we take on the role of looking after the country’s most vulnerable, it’s also very important that we take that seriously.”
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Infectious diseases expert Professor Robert Booy told Jim he’s “clearly concerned” by Ms Davis’ report.
He agreed the vaccine should be mandatory for aged care workers.
“Unless there’s an important medical or legal impediment, I think … well over 95 per cent of people could be vaccinated and should be vaccinated.”
His team at the University of Sydney have been raising the alarm about the dangers of staff working in multiple facilities for more than a decade.
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