The government's handling of the vaccination rollout in aged care came under scrutiny again in the last sitting week of parliament before the winter break.
Aged care services Minister Richard Colbeck revealed that only 4 per cent of home care workers have been fully vaccinated.
There are currently an estimated 93,000 direct care workers in the community care and 147,000 direct care workers in residential care, and more than four months into the vaccination rollout there is concern that those in priority 1A of the rollout are still missing out on vaccination.
Colbeck received questions in the senate after The Financial Review revealed that only a third of all aged care workers had received one dose of the vaccine.
"More than four months after the vaccine rollout started, how many aged-care workers have been fully vaccinated, with both shots, against COVID-19?" Senator Jess Walsh from Victoria asked Colbeck.
"The article in the Financial Review is a little out of date. Thirty-three per cent of residential aged-care staff, or 85,272, have received a first dose of the vaccination, according to the latest data that I have," said Colbeck.
"Of those 85,272, there are 40,354, or 15.6 per cent, who have received a second dose of the vaccination."
He told the senate that the aged care rollout had been hampered by developing health advice. The original plan to vaccinate residents and staff together was shelved, he said, as it was deemed unsafe to do so. The Financial Review said this was because it was feared that staff may call in sick with potential side effects.
Colbeck said the changing health advice around the AstraZeneca vaccine also slowed the process down.
Of home care workers, Colbeck said that only 4.3 per cent have had two doses of the vaccine.
"At this point in time, based on the data that I have, 18.3 per cent of home-care workers have received a vaccine," he said.
"Of that 18 per cent, 4.3 per cent have had a second dose. These are very early numbers because those numbers are being reported to us at this point in time voluntarily by home-care providers. That process will be made compulsory in the coming weeks."Do you have an idea for a story?
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