The Retirement Living Council has asked Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt to support the mandatory vaccination of all people working in the retirement communities.
Ben Myers, Executive Director of the RLC, said the extensive contact between staff and residents was exacerbating concerns about the risks of COVID-19 transmission.
“These concerns are causing great angst for residents and, in some instances, hostility toward staff, many of whom have still not been able to obtain their vaccinations due to eligibility criteria and waiting lists,” he said.
South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia have made it mandatory for all aged care workers to have at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine before 17 September to be able to continue working. NSW and Victoria are likely to follow after agreement was reached at National Cabinet.
No mandate has been sought against workers in the retirement living sector and retirement living operators have no legal power to require staff to disclose information about their vaccination status, or compel them to be vaccinated. This is despite the extensive contact that staff have with residents, especially through the delivery of home care and private aged care services.
“We’ve also been working hard to encourage the Australian Government to establish ‘pop-up’ vaccination clinics in retirement communities,” said Ben Myers.
Retirement living operators have used their own initiation to get their residents vaccinated as RetireAustralia’s Murray Gardens told The Donaldson Sisters.