Retirement village residents told to organise their own COVID vaccinations

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Despite their large elderly populations, retirement villages don’t fall under the Federal Government’s aged care rollout – and some families are not happy that their relatives have to be taken out of the community to receive a vaccination.

The ABC ran a story last week featuring the family of an 89-year-old Brisbane woman with severe dementia who can’t walk, who lives in Aveo’s Freedom Care Albany Creek community (pictured), which gives residents access to 24/7 nursing care without the need to move into residential care.

Her family is upset that they must take her into the community to be vaccinated. While her GP does make home visits, they are not a registered vaccination provider.

However, Aveo’s hands are tied because as a village operator, it can’t hold onsite vaccination clinics.

There are over 2,300 retirement villages across Australia, with around 190,000 residents and an average age of 81, but only people living in residential care are being vaccinated onsite in Phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Instead, village residents must go to their local GP clinic, respiratory clinic or Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service clinic.

An Aveo spokesperson said the company is in communication with the Department of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccination Taskforce – Aged Care about the possibility of extending the Phase 1A in-reach vaccination clinics to its Freedom Care Communities.