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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Qld aged care deaths revealing boosters lag, laments deputy premier

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Another seven aged care residents have died of COVID-19 in Queensland with the deputy premier saying they’re suffering disproportionately because not enough have had a booster vaccine.

The state recorded nine virus deaths and 5746 new cases after 14,490 tests in the 24 hours to 6.30am on Sunday, taking the total number of active cases to 48,447.

There are 726 patients being treated for COVID-19 in hospital and another 47 people are in intensive care.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles says seven of the nine deaths were aged care residents and only four of the dead had received two doses of a vaccine, and none had had a booster.

“The staff and the residents should all be double vaccinated and boosted,” Miles told reporters on Sunday.

“Now they’re not, we know they’re not because it’s coming through in the death figures.

“We can’t get data though to tell us how many residents have been boosted, which aged care facilities are all boosted, which are below targets, where the Commonwealth has been and where they haven’t been, and so it’s very difficult to see where we can assist.

“We’ve requested that data, it hasn’t been provided to us and as you’ve seen over recent days, in particular, if more people were boosted, then less people would be dying.”

The deputy premier said the impact of staff shortages due to isolation requirements and supply chain issues were worsening the situation in the state’s aged care homes.

“We’ve got people now who have been isolating or feeling very isolated – the impact on their mental health is significant,” he said.

“They’re not getting the regularity of care that they used to, whether that’s bathing or other assistance.

“They’re not getting in some cases the medication and medical care that they would normally receive because their facility has staff off with COVID, or because they’ve been exposed, potentially exposed to COVID.”

Federal Labor’s health spokesman Mark Butler said there is a full blown crisis in aged care

“Tens of thousands of older Australians locked in their room isolated from each other, from their family and visitors,” he told reporters in Adelaide.

“And most tragically, more than 600 older Australians losing their lives to COVID in aged care in just the five weeks just gone by.

“The Government needs to fix its debacle of a booster rollout in aged care, 60,000 aged care residents at least still not boosted and 60 per cent of aged care staff still not with a booster shot.”

Last Friday Miles was scathing of Prime Minister Scott Morrison for not ensuring the sector had received boosters.

“It shouldn’t have come to this,” he said.

“They (aged care residents) should have all been boosted.

“If they were boosted we wouldn’t be experiencing nearly the level of deaths that we are.

“There is no explanation for why so many people in aged care are double vaccinated but not boosted when the Prime Minister said they would be.”

Miles welcomed Defence Minister Peter Dutton on Friday flagging use of the military to help the aged care sector.

But he believed the decision should have been made much earlier, saying it “breaks my heart” seeing reports of how some aged care residents were being treated.

“What is happening in aged care in Australia right now is nothing short of a national disgrace,” he told reporters.

“We have elderly residents locked away, isolated in their rooms, not being bathed, not getting food, not getting the medical care that they need.

“There is more than 1000 nursing homes experiencing a live outbreak right now.

“The national government should be doing absolutely everything they can to change that including getting them boosted.”


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