One third of West Australian aged care workers would quit if the government mandates the COVID-19 vaccination, according to a survey conducted by the nursing union in the state.
The Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) state secretary Mark Olson said that forcing workers to get vaccinated could cause a "mass exodus" of staff in the sector, reports the ABC.
The union surveyed its members and found that 31 per cent would leave their job if they were forced to be vaccinated.
Two-thirds of those surveyed believe that vaccines should remain voluntary and they want to be able to choose which vaccine they get.
“We are desperately short of aged care nurses and carers,” Olson said.
“We cannot afford to adopt policies that would worsen well-documented difficulties facing the sector and create an even bigger shortage of staff.”
Recently, Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed the nation’s leaders had paved the way for vaccinations to become mandatory for health care workers.
“I was very firmly of the view, and supported strongly by states and territories, that we need to look at how we can do this safely,” Mr Morrison said.
Mr Morrison said the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) had been tasked with advising how the measure could be implemented and expected a “prompt” report.
“What we have asked the AHPPC to do is advise us of a suitable time frame in which a mandatory vaccination of aged care workers would be suitable and safe from a medical perspective, taking into account the balance in risks,” Mr Morrison said.
WA premier Mark Mcgown is also in favour of the measure because elderly people are "very very vulnerable" to the virus.
However, Olsen believes that mandatory vaccinations would put the sector under immense strain.
"This survey came at a time when there was a great deal of community debate about AstraZeneca," he said.
"If we want to increase the uptake, we must give the aged care workers a complete choice."
"If the government is serious about giving the best protection for aged care, then a mandatory policy would have to extend to everybody who enters an aged care facility, exactly the same as flu vaccinations," he said.Do you have an idea for a story?
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