Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan is the first state leader to make the vaccination of aged care workers against COVID-19 mandatory.
At a meeting of the National Cabinet last Friday, State premiers were urged by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to issue public health orders and override advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC).
The AHPPC claimed mandating a COVID-19 vaccine would result in a significant number of workers quitting the aged care sector rather than being forced to be vaccinated, creating a shortfall of workers in an already overstretched industry.
Mr McGowan said the mandatory vaccinations would occur in August and the workers would be offered the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
“Subject to exemptions, I actually think that is a good idea,” he said.
“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.
“We do it for flu vaccination … so extending it for COVID is a good thing to do.”
More than three-quarters of Australians, in a poll of 1,001 people, support a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine for frontline workers in aged care and other vulnerable settings, according to a survey from the Canberra-based think tank, the Australia Institute.
But so far there has been silence from all other State and Territory leaders.