Aged care vaccine rollout “an absolute debacle”
By the end of April, barely 10 per cent of Australia’s 330,000 aged care workers had been vaccinated, though they are classified in the 1a group for the highest priority frontline staff.
Fewer than one-third of aged care facilities had administered both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to their residents eight weeks into the program, as logistics companies fail to deliver the vaccines, health providers fail to show up and the vast majority of workers have no clear access to vaccinations, the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported.
One major aged care provider told the SMH that the rollout was “an absolute debacle”.
Aged care providers told the SMH that their workers did not have access to the NSW Health-operated hubs that vaccinate the highest priority groups, such as frontline medical workers and hotel quarantine staff, because aged care falls under the federal government. NSW Health confirmed this.
The Morrison government said its initial strategy of inoculating staff at their workplace was “under review”.
The federal government had planned to send dedicated teams to aged care facilities to vaccinate staff and to establish offsite “pop-up” vaccination hubs.
The ACTU said the government walked away from these commitments.
“These workers were told they would be treated with the same urgency and attention as other frontline health staff, but many will end up waiting six months to be vaccinated,” said ACTU Assistant Secretary Liam O’Brien.