National Cabinet rules no mandatory COVID vaccinations for aged care workers as Pfizer vaccine gets green light

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison and State and Territory leaders have been told that aged care workers should not be required to be vaccinated against coronavirus – despite flu jabs being made mandatory for aged care staff last year.

The PM was advised by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) at last Friday’s National Cabinet meeting that public health orders should not be used to require the vaccine for aged care workers at this stage.

“There is currently a lack of evidence regarding effectiveness at preventing transmission and there is not yet a clear date by which all residents, staff, visitors and carers will have had an opportunity to be vaccinated,” the advice read.

However, the AHPPC said it would continue to monitor the situation and may change its advice when evidence becomes available.

Mr Morrison said he did not believe the decision would put aged care residents at risk.

“I have no doubt if there were concerns about the well-being of vulnerable Australians, particularly elderly Australians, that they would make such a recommendation,” he stated.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd added that aged care staff and residents would be “actively encouraged” to get the vaccine.

“We are anticipating a very high uptake,” he said.

LASA had been advocating for mandatory vaccination for aged care workers – with tight exceptions – in early January, citing the mandatory flu jabs that workers are already required to have.

The Government will soon have more evidence – the Therapeutic Goods Administration has now given provisional approval for the use of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine with the first jabs to start in late February, just weeks away.