100,000 aged care residents vaccinated – but staff missing out

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The Government has missed its target to have all aged care residents and staff vaccinated by the end of March, with most aged care staff now directed to go to their GP or pop-up clinics to receive their vaccines.

Under the Government’s original rollout plan, the Government had promised to deliver four million vaccinations by 31 March 2021, including 1.4 million to vulnerable groups such as aged care residents under phase 1a.

But according to the latest Department of Health figures dated 4 April 2021, there have been only 111,873 vaccinations across 925 aged care facilities that have had first doses and 345 facilities that have had second doses.

There are currently around 190,000 older Australians living in residential care plus an estimated 318,000 aged care workers.

In total, just 841,885 vaccinations have been delivered across Australia.

There is also no data on how many aged care staff have received their vaccinations at facilities.

Speaking to operators, most staff appear to be missing out with the few vaccines left over after residents have received their doses being allocated to senior nursing staff.

The Herald reported on Monday that a Department of Health spokesperson said that the current medical advice was to not vaccinate residents and large numbers of staff at the same time, to avoid staffing shortages from mild side effects after vaccination.

The same spokesperson also stated that from mid-April, aged care workers will be able to access a COVID-19 vaccination through dedicated worker vaccination clinics – but there has been no more detail on this measure.

Despite the delays, Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed on Sunday that the Government still expects all Australians who want a vaccination to have received their first doses by the end of October.

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