A staggeringly low 10 per cent of Australia’s aged care workers have been vaccinated so far, despite supposedly being being a Federal Government priority and classified as part of Phase 1a of the vaccination schedule.
Speaking on Melbourne radio’s 3AW, Leading Age Services Australia Chief Executive Sean Rooney, told host Tom Elliott of his shock and concern at the snail-pace of the roll-out.
“We have said all along during the pandemic it was a national priority to do all we can to protect older Australians in care and also the staff that care for them,” Rooney said.
“Part of doing all we can is to ensure that residents and staff are safely and efficiently vaccinated and here we are eight to nine weeks into the rollout of the national program and we still are yet to see a formal staff vaccination program be implemented.”
Rooney said aged care providers have put forward a lot of suggestions to speed up the rollout of the vaccine for workers.
“We are told it is imminent but again we are waiting for the government to come back with the formal design of the program,” he said.
“For an aged care worker who has been through everything, let’s be honest, they are at the frontline who turn up every day to do a challenging job, it has been more challenging through COVID.
“If you’re an aged care worker, you’re sitting there saying ‘well, you tell me I’m important, you tell me that I’m valued and that I should be at the front of the que, but I’m not seeing it.
“And we know that it’s only going to take one outbreak of community transmission that puts us all at risk, and most importantly the older Australians in care at greater risk.
“We need to get it right – and we need to get it right now.”