Over 95% of aged care workers who have been jabbed with their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 76.9% of fully vaccinated workers have met today’s mandatory vaccination deadline set by the Federal Government.
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, Federal Secretary Annie Butler commended aged care workers for their efforts on getting vaccinated in the face of the Government failing to provide vaccinations to staff in the workplace until just before the deadline.
“Aged care workers across the country have done a fantastic job at reaching those targets despite being left to fend for themselves to find appointments when vaccines were scarce and the messaging inconsistent,” Ms Butler said.
“Considering the Commonwealth failed to provide vaccines in the workplace as promised, this is a significant achievement that every residential age care worker should be very proud of.”
Ms Butler said when vaccination rates were low it was highly disappointing that the blame had been shifted on workers, which she said was inaccurate and wrong.
“As the Prime Minister announced in January this year, it has always been the government’s responsibility to get this done, and it is unfair to blame workers and aged care service providers for failures in supply and access.”
COVID-19 vaccination became a mandatory requirement in nursing homes under the direction of the National Cabinet, 28 June 2021. As per the direction, residential aged care workers who failed to comply with the order would not be able to enter a residential aged care facility.
Ms Butler said staff, unions and providers had worked hard to hit the 17 September deadline for residential care staff to be vaccinated. But to achieve full vaccination coverage, the Commonwealth must now increase the number of inreach programs where the vaccines are brought directly into workplaces, she said.
“Full coverage can be achieved with a well-resourced and ramped-up Commonwealth workplace program now that further vaccines have become available nationally.
“We’re urging the government to put in place additional measures to help workers and providers meet the full vaccination requirements.”
Ms Butler also said the Federal Government needed to guarantee support for any residential care homes that experienced workforce shortages due to the vaccination program.
“The next priority will be assisting the home care workforce to be vaccinated, which is necessary to keep older people living at home and their carers protected in the community.”