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Friday, December 8, 2023

Catholic hospitals urge SA Government to mandate covid vax

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Catholic Health Australia (CHA) is urging the South Australian Government to follow the example set by other states and urgently mandate the vaccination of healthcare workers against COVID-19.

The provider grouping has been calling for the mandatory Covid vaccination of the Australian health workforce since mid-July.

NSW was the first state to move, issuing a public health order to its workers to get vaccinated in August and since then, Western Australia, Tasmania, and Queensland have followed.

Catholic Health Australia Health policy director James Kemp said the high transmissibility of the Delta variant makes South Australia’s hospitals extremely vulnerable.

“South Australia has been relatively fortunate to date in terms of Delta, but that’s all the more reason to tie down the tarp before the storm strikes,” he said.

“A blanket public health order by the South Australian Government would take the decision-making out of the hands of operators – it’s a safer and more thorough approach.

“We need the SA Government to send a clear and unambiguous message: if you work in healthcare you must be vaccinated at Covid.

Kemp said that while obviously the majority of staff working in the Catholic sector have been vaccinated, a Government mandate would give a nudge to the few remaining staff who are unvaccinated.

“Mandating Covid vaccines for hospital staff should hardly be considered controversial.

“Already healthcare workers are required to get jabs to protect against the likes of measles, mumps, and rubella.

“This would be a straightforward extension of that requirement.”

The peak advisory body for not-for-profit hospitals and aged care, CHA is Australia’s largest non-government grouping of health and aged care services accounting for approximately 10 percent of hospital-based healthcare in Australia.

Members also provide around 25 percent of private hospital care, 5 percent of public hospital care, 12 percent of aged care facilities, and 20 percent of home care and support for the elderly.

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