Still many questions over mandatory aged care vaccinations

29 June 2021

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) continues to strongly encourage aged care nurses and carers to receive COVID-19 vaccines, but is concerned that mandating vaccinations for the aged care workforce could be a ‘political decision, not a health decision’.

According to the ANMF, there is still ongoing confusion and very little detail on how mandatory vaccinations would be implemented. There is still no guarantee of special paid leave to assist aged care staff get their vaccinations and the $11 million pledged for workers, is just a mere $30.00 allocated for each worker still unvaccinated.

“The Morrison Government’s promises for aged care just keep coming, but at this stage, there are more questions than answers,” ANMF Federal Secretary, Annie Butler, said today.

“Whilst the ANMF strongly encourages our members working in aged care to get vaccinated, we need to ensure that the Government’s mandate is based on clear-cut health advice not political advice. The critical issues now are access to vaccines and support for aged care staff.

“So far, the vaccine roll-out in privately-run aged care facilities has been an absolute shambles. To protect workers, elderly residents and the wider community, we need guaranteed access to vaccines for all aged care workers and paid leave to support that access and management of any reactions they may experience.

“For three months, we’ve been pleading with the Government to fund special leave to support aged care staff to receive their vaccinations, but there’s been total inaction. Last night’s announcement from the Prime Minister has no surety and no guarantees that aged care staff, especially those in insecure work, will have access to vaccinations and be supported so that they don’t lose hours and pay when they get the vaccine.

“We still don’t know how vaccinations will be mandated; how staff will access the vaccines. Will they access on site where they work, or will they be forced to source their own? Aged care workers are confused, and many aged care providers are confused. Workers need clarity and security and action by the Government which is based on clear health advice.

“The ANMF has written to the Prime Minister seeking urgent clarification on these issues.

“We know that as a nation, we must escalate the vaccination roll-out in aged care and the wider community and the ANMF and its members are willing and able to work with the Government and health agencies to get the job done.”

ANMF media release authorised by Annie Butler, ANMF Federal Secretary. 1/365 Queen St, Melbourne.

The ANMF, with over 300,000 members, is the industrial and professional voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.

Media contact: Richard Lenarduzzi on 0411 254 390

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