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Mandatory vaccines right decision but govt must do more to guarantee supply

Release date: 29 Jun 2021

Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) is pleased the federal government has made Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory in aged care but says the most important thing for wide take-up of vaccines is to make it easier for workers to get it.

“Vaccinating aged care residents and the workforce is an essential protection for older Australians, particularly as covid circulation and outbreaks continue in the community,” ACSA CEO Patricia Sparrow said.

“Mandatory Covid jabs for residential aged care workers, with appropriate exemptions on medical and other significant grounds, is no different to the situation with the flu jab. It’s the right decision.

“However this announcement won’t solve the problems with the rollout. To suggest so would just be blame-shifting. The reason there is low rates of vaccination has little to do with our workers.

“The best way to improve vaccination rates is to make it as easy as possible for aged care workers, including through on-site workplace vaccination.

“Our workers were given priority as 1A and 1B at the beginning of the year, yet they are still waiting to be vaccinated. It’s not their fault.

“We simply have not seen the level of urgency, planning or clear communication needed from the federal government and this must be corrected urgently.

“It’s good that the need for additional support for workers to get the jab has been acknowledged with an $11 million boost. We’ll examine this to make sure it’s enough and to make sure the support goes where it needs to.

“Governments have shown during the pandemic how quickly and cooperatively they can work together during a crisis.

“This ingenuity and urgency must now be applied to aged care vaccination.”

Media contact: Jane Garcia 0455 111 593

As the peak body representing church, charitable and community-based organisations providing accommodation and care services to older people, people with a disability and their carers, ACSA can be contacted for comment on issues affecting the industry.

Areas ACSA may provide media commentary on include:  

  • Aged care reforms
  • Residential aged care
  • Home care
  • Independent and retirement living
  • Housing for older Australians
  • Palliative care
  • The aged care workforce in Australia

 

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