Catholic Health Australia (CHA) says it welcomes the approval of a booster COVID-19 shot, but is calling on the Federal Government to ensure health and aged care workers remain a priority and that the shots are compulsory.
CHA is the largest non-government provider grouping of health, community and aged care services in Australia and has been advocating strongly for a booster to be approved for a number of months.
Frontline staff who received their first jabs early in 2021 have been worried their immunity is likely to be dropping.
CHA’s health policy manager Alex Lynch said the sector was relieved by the Pfizer booster approval, but the Government needs to do more to ensure safety.
“As we have been saying for weeks, there is strong evidence that the immunity offered against Delta by two vaccine doses wears off significantly after eight months,” Lynch said.
“So, doctors, nurses, and those in aged care who got their first shots early are becoming vulnerable.
“They need that booster.”
Lynch added that while it’s good that health and aged care workers are in that priority group, the booster shot needs to be a compulsory condition for working in hospitals as well as residential and community aged care.
“We need the Government to send an unambiguous message: if you work in health or aged care then you must be vaccinated.
“Mandating Covid vaccines for hospital staff should not be thought of as controversial; healthcare workers are already required to get jabs to protect against the likes of measles, mumps, and rubella,” Lynch said.