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Friday, December 8, 2023

WA premier to order mandatory vaccination of aged care workers

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The Australian Financial Review has reported that WA premier Mark McGowan will make it compulsory for aged care workers in his state to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The prospect of vaccination being mandatory for aged care staff was canvassed at the recent national cabinet meeting, however WA will be the first state or territory to follow through on the recommendation.

Earlier this year McGowan mandated that all hotel quarantine workers in his state be vaccinated against coronavirus, and argued that requiring aged care workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 is no different to them being vaccinated for influenza.

The flu jab is compulsory in most states and territories.

McGowan told the AFR‘s Philip Coorey that the mandatory vaccinations will occur in August and that workers would be offered the Pfizer vaccine.

“Subject to exemptions, I actually think that is a good idea,” he told the AFR.

“People who are elderly are very vulnerable and obviously the workforce is a potential source of infection for people … therefore getting the workforce vaccinated is very important.

“We do it for flu vaccination … so extending it for COVID is a good thing to do.”

During last Friday’s national cabinet meeting, states and territories were urged to ignore advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) and issue their own public health orders.

The AHPPC has argued that mandating a COVID-19 vaccine would result in a significant number of workers quitting rather than being forced to be vaccinated, creating a shortfall of staff in an already under-resourced sector.

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