A survey of 4,000 Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation members working in aged care in WA has shown 31 per cent – almost one-in-three – say they would quit the industry if having a COVID-19 vaccination is mandatory.
ANMF state secretary Mark Olson said the union encouraged aged care workers to get vaccinated, however, he added it should not be mandatory. Enforcement would risk a further exodus from the sector struggling to fill existing vacancies.
“Our members’ response reflects the same concerns expressed by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) that COVID-19 vaccinations should remain voluntary for aged care staff.”
WA Premier Mark McGowan has been outspoken, stating that requiring all aged care workers to be vaccinated was no different to them being made to have the flu shot, which is compulsory in most States and Territories.
He said on 7 June that mandatory vaccinations would occur in August and all aged care workers would be offered the Pfizer vaccine.
“People who are elderly are very vulnerable and obviously the workforce is a potential source of infection for people … therefore getting the workforce vaccinated is very important,” Mr McGowan said.
Federal Government has urged States to issue public health orders to make the vaccination of aged care workers mandatory, overriding the advice of the AHPPC.