Contractors who are unable to provide proof of having at least one COVID vaccination will not be allowed onsite at one privately-owned southeast Queensland retirement village from today (September 1).
Elements Retirement Living, managing director Chiou See Anderson said the ‘no jab, no work’ directive was issued to ensure the ongoing safety of staff and residents within the community.
“We have written to all of our contractors to let them know that as of September 1, anyone working at Elements must have had at least one vaccine,” Anderson said.
“We have anywhere from 30 to 50 contractors visit our site every month.
“Many of our residents are in their 70s with some in their 90s, so it’s essential we put this measure in place to ensure their continued safety.”
From September 17, COVID-19 vaccination will be mandatory for residential aged care workers, but those rules do not apply to those working in retirement villages.
“While the mandate may not extend to residents like ours, it doesn’t make them any less vulnerable,” Anderson said.
“Fortunately, all of our wonderful staff volunteered to become fully vaccinated at the earliest possible opportunity and now we are asking contractors who visit our site to do the same.”
Anderson said she hopes that when it comes time to offer booster shots, that Queensland Health will be willing to deliver vaccines in retirement villages, much like they had in aged care homes.
She said the response from regular contractors to the Springwood-based village had already been overwhelmingly positive.
Elements residents’ committee chair Ian Smythe said the village community backed the move, particularly given the rapid spread of the Delta variant interstate.
“Most of our residents have already received their vaccine and we really appreciate that the staff at Elements stepped up quickly to be voluntarily vaccinated,” he said.
“With such a large number of contractors also visiting Elements every month, having this extra layer of protection, just like what’s happening in the aged care sector, will give us another level of comfort as we try to stay healthy and well in this pandemic.”
Marc Melville, a spokesperson for Luzac Plumbing, said he was happy to have the vaccine and encourage his staff to do the same so that only vaccinated plumbers would be making callouts to Elements.
“I agree that when you are providing service to older Australians you need to do what you can to protect your clients, so I think it’s great that Elements are taking this extra precaution,” he said.
“I was only too happy to roll up my sleeve and be vaccinated.
“I think business owners should lead by example, get vaccinated and encourage their staff to be vaccinated.
“The sooner we do that the sooner we can all get back to normal life.”