Aged Care Workers and COVID-19 Vaccinations

08 July 2021

According to the Morrison Government’s own targets, aged care workers were supposed to have been fully vaccinated by Easter.


We know through tragic experience from last year that 84 per cent of residents of aged care facilities who caught COVID-19 caught it through aged care staff.


This is why Labor holds the view that it makes sense for aged care workers to be vaccinated. Instead of blaming aged care workers for not getting the jab, we need to get the jabs to the workers.


Aged care workers were supposed to have been in Phase 1A, the first cohort of Australians to receive Covid vaccines, delivered at their aged care facilities. That is until the Morrison Government decided that keeping our most vulnerable in aged care safe was all too hard.


The Morrison Government abandoned aged care workers and by extension the people they care for, taking them out of 1A and saying they were on their own to find vaccines without any preference arrangement, information campaign, or let alone dedicated vaccination effort.  


They were only given leftovers and vast numbers of them missed out.


Aged care workers are now being given a deadline to get vaccinated, but we still don’t have a dedicated plan to actually get them vaccinated from the Morrison government. Scott Morrison needs to stop blaming others for his failures, especially aged care workers.


The rollout of this vaccine program has been an exercise in ineptitude and aged care workers have borne the brunt of that. Former Prime Minister Turnbull has called it a "phenomenal failure", and less than 20 per cent of aged care workers are currently fully vaccinated.


Unless the Morrison Government takes responsibility for getting jabs to workers, this will become yet another government vaccination target that won’t be met.


Labor supports having our aged care workforce vaccinated, but that should be done in cooperation with workers, supported by a detailed information campaign, and with a clear plan to make vaccination as easy as possible for workers who often struggle to juggle shifts and their other responsibilities.