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Statement attributable to Carolyn Smith, Aged Care Director, United Workers Union, regarding the introduction of mandatory vaccinations for aged care workers.

Federal Government failures:

“We have to remember this decision is based on the complete failure of the Federal Government until now to fulfil its commitment to vaccinate aged care workers.

“Aged care workers were supposed to have been 1A in the rollout and vaccinated at their aged care facilities.

“Instead they were only given leftovers and vast numbers of them missed out.

“Now aged care workers are being given a two-month deadline to be vaccinated in what has become, sadly, a familiar theme of aged care workers being blamed for the Federal Government’s failings.

“The rollout of this vaccine program has been an exercise in ineptitude and aged care workers have borne the brunt of that.”

Mandatory vaccination rollout:

“We welcome funding to address issues that have made it hard for aged care workers to be vaccinated – such as leave to be vaccinated and leave if people are unwell afterwards.

“We also want to see an effective program that addresses aged care workers’ issues in receiving the vaccine, including an education program and an adequate supply of easily available vaccine.

Consequences of further failures in aged care vaccinations:

“In terms of the impact on the sector more broadly, the mandatory vaccination program simply has to work or we will face a new and deeper crisis in aged care.

“If workers find themselves banned wholesale because of failures in the mandatory vaccination program, that will lead to even further shortages in aged care staffing and even poorer outcomes for older Australians.”