The Aged & Community Services Association (ACSA) is urging all states and territories to follow Western Australia’s lead and introduce mandatory vaccination for aged care workers as soon as safe and practical.
Australian governments announced on Friday 4 June, an “in principle disposition” towards mandatory vaccinations for aged care workers and ACSA cautioned for the need to ramp up prioritisation of vaccination for both residential and home care workers as the measure was considered.
This comes as new Essential Report polling released today [8 June] found about half (49%) of Australians think residents and workers at aged care and disability facilities are being vaccinated more slowly than they would like.
Victorians are most likely to think residents and workers at aged care and disability facilities, and quarantine, border and frontline healthcare workers are being vaccinated more slowly than they would like (57% and 47% respectively).
ACSA Chairperson Sara Blunt says aged care providers want the vaccination rollout to aged care residents and workers fast-tracked to help protect vulnerable residents.
“Vaccinating aged care residents and the workforce is an essential protection for older Australians, particularly as Covid circulation and outbreaks continue in the community,” she says.
“Victoria, NSW, South Australian and Queensland have made positive moves towards giving aged care workers priority access at their vaccination hubs, but we must step up the effort.
“We support the introduction of mandatory covid vaccines for both residential and home care workers, with appropriate exemptions on medical and other significant grounds.
“This must be done in a way that increases vaccination rates without adversely impacting on workforce numbers, at a time when the sector needs more workers to support the extra demands of covid and the implementation of the Royal Commission reforms.
“Governments showed during the pandemic how quickly and co-operatively they could work during a crisis. Let’s see the same ingenuity and urgency applied by Australian governments to safeguard tens of thousands of lives with greater vaccination of aged care residents and workers,” says Ms Blunt.