With 99.3% (258,255) of residential aged care workers having had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine as of Tuesday, there remains around 2,300 staff members barred from the workforce across the nation unless they have been granted an exemption.
The residential aged care workforce is to be commended for having taken the lead as the first workforce to have mandatory vaccination in Australia and now has one of the highest vaccination rates of a workforce in the world.
The Department of Health is engaging with all providers to confirm the strategies in place to ensure full compliance (100%) workforce vaccination as quickly as possible. In addition, the Department is assisting providers to report accurately, which includes not counting workers who are on extended leave such as maternity leave or long service leave.
10 staff members at the South Australian Government’s Strathalbyn and District Aged Care Facility in the town of Strathalbyn, 60km southeast of Adelaide’s CBD, were suspended for failing to meet the vaccine mandate of 17 September.
A spokeswoman from SA Health Barossa Hills Fleurieu Local Health Network said four were booked in for vaccinations and two had medical exemptions.
“Additionally, we have had a small number of staff who have decided not to be vaccinated and therefore will no longer be able to work at the site,” the spokeswoman said.
Barossa Hills Fleurieu Local Health Network said 15 people were offered a job at the site to cope with demand, and support was brought in from Mount Barker and Southern Fleurieu healthcare centres.
The Federal Government has praised operators, workers, peak bodies and unions for supporting the mandate. The Health Services Union (HSU) has launched ‘50,000 Reasons to Vaccinate for Victory’, which offers members who have been vaccinated, or are booked in to be vaccinated, a chance to win one of 50 prizes of $1,000 each.