Mandatory vaccinations for aged care staff being considered

By Shannon Jenkins

Tuesday June 1, 2021

The federal government has appointed two health experts to lead the advisory committee overseeing the new Medicare Benefits Schedule Review.
The federal government has appointed two health experts to lead the advisory committee overseeing the new Medicare Benefits Schedule Review. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

The federal government has asked the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) to reconsider whether the COVID-19 vaccine should be mandatory for residential aged care staff.

Health minister Greg Hunt on Monday said he and Prime Minister Scott Morrison had asked the AHPPC to consider mandatory vaccinations again after it decided against it in January.

“It had previously been discussed but for medical reasons the view of that group had not advised in favour of it,” Hunt said.

National cabinet is also expected to consider the issue on Friday.

Criticism of the federal government’s rollout of the vaccine has escalated since Victoria went into its fourth lockdown, with cases emerging at two aged care facilities in the state. Two workers and one resident have tested positive for COVID-19 at Arcare Maidstone, with another staff member from BlueCross Western Gardens testing positive.


READ MORE: The Briefing: Commonwealth, state and territory public servants receive varying levels of vaccine support, obligations and communication


Hunt has claimed that 85% of private aged care residents in Australia and 100% of Victorian aged care residents have received the vaccinations. However, a guest on The Project on Monday night rejected that claim, stating that no one in the Victorian aged care facility where her grandmother lives has received their first jab.

On Monday Guardian Australia also revealed that the commonwealth has not enforced rules to prevent aged care workers from working at multiple aged care facilities.

The Department of Health has issued an update on vaccinations, stating that at May 30, 196,580 first doses and 149,003 second doses have been administered in commonwealth aged care and residential disability facilities.

Earlier this year Scott Morrison said four million Australians would have received their first jab by the end of March. As at May 30, 4,243,600 people have received the vaccine.


READ MORE: Getting vaccine expectations right is not easy


 

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