Revelations today that aged care workers were only given leftover aged care vaccines confirms the dreadful vaccine experience of aged care workers over the past few months, United Workers Union Aged Care Director Carolyn Smith said today.
“The revelation the company providing aged care vaccines was not even contracted to give aged care workers their vaccine jabs shows what the Federal Government really thinks about aged care workers,” Ms Smith said.
“Aged care workers were told they would be prioritised as 1A in the rollout from February 22 – but our own survey of 254 aged care workers in April showed 85 per cent had not received their first vaccine.
“Aged care workers in South Australia in April were reporting that after their first Pfizer vaccine, they were being told to seek vaccines from GPs – putting them at risk of getting mixed vaccine doses.
“We now understand why this is the case – aged care workers were not prioritised at all.
“This also means older Australians were not prioritised at all – as Victoria shows, low vaccination rates in aged care are just one bad outbreak away from disastrous outcomes.
“The fact we now have to learn from the media about this colossal oversight is a disgraceful example of the way the Federal Government treats older Australians and aged care workers.
“We now understand why aged care workers were only given leftovers, we now understand why aged care workers were being left to find their own vaccines, and we understand why some aged care workers were left half-way through their course of vaccines.
“I would also note that the Federal Government is seeking to throw into doubt its commitment to vaccinate aged care workers due to decisions surrounding the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“But I would remind Aged Care Services Minister Richard Colbeck that aged care workers were only ever told they would receive Pfizer vaccines.
“It is entirely the Federal Government’s fault that most aged care workers have not received those Pfizer vaccines because aged care workers were never, ever included in the plan.”