26 Apr Aged Care Staff Put On Notice: Get The Jab or Potentially Lose Your Job
AGED care staff who refuse to get a flu vaccination will be transferred or even banned from shift in a radical new plan.
THERE were 1100 influenza-related deaths in Australia last year, with more than 90 per cent of those being people aged 65 years or older.
In an effort to decrease this alarming number, the federal government has announced it will be mandatory for every aged care facility to offer free flu-vaccinations to their staff from May this year.
While the government cannot force healthcare workers to receive an injection against their will, The Sunday Telegraph reports that those who refuse will be transferred to different wards or be rostered on less, depending on the employment agreement they work under, to ensure the safety of elderly residents.
“Our senior Australians have built the nation we enjoy today. They have rightly earned the respect of the community and must be cared for with the dignity they deserve,” Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said.
He also said the latest data showed infection control was further compromised last year when dozens of staff were struck down with the flu, compounding an already deadly situation. “Vaccination is imperative for staff and residents in aged care, where the flu can have devastating consequences,” Mr Wyatt said.
A national review of 2609 aged care homes found that only 3.5 per cent of them had the recommended staff coverage of 95 per cent or higher. The addition of dozens being struck down with flu symptoms last year, along with already minimised staff numbers, would have devastating effects on Australia’s elderly.
Encouragingly, the review found that aged care homes that ran free vaccination programs for staff had higher coverage than those that only encouraged staff to be vaccinated elsewhere.