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Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

Half of aged care workers still unvaccinated as mandatory deadline looms

With the deadline for mandatory vaccination for aged care workers less than eight weeks away, over half of the workforce remains without at least one vaccine dose.

At the end of June the PM announced that vaccination would now be a condition of employment for people working in the aged care sector. At that time, 33 per cent of residential aged care staff, or 85,272 people, had received a first dose of the vaccination.

Of those 85,272, 40,354, or 15.6 per cent, had received a second dose of the vaccination.

Health department data from this week reveals that some 43.3 per cent of workers have now had one dose of the vaccine, as reported by Guardian Australia. 

The data shows that 120,011 of 276,910 aged care workers in Australia have reported receiving a first dose, and about 69,786 have reported receiving both doses: about 25.2 per cent of the workforce.

Speaking on ABC radio, Scott Morrison refuted the claim that only one in four workers were fully dosed, but failed to give his own data.

"11 per cent of the entire population is fully vaccinated. Only one in four aged care workers is fully vaccinated, and only 43 per cent have even had their first dose," host Ali Clarke said.

"Well, no, sorry, all those figures you’ve just said aren't right. It is higher than that, and the level of aged care workers now has increased dramatically above that," Morrison interjected.

"We’re about 12 per cent now on the vaccination rates, and that's rising, and we've got over 75 per cent of those aged over 70."

Asked if half of workers were now fully vaccinated, Morrison replied: "On their first dose, yeah."

Flu deaths down

The increased infection control measures and various lockdowns has had an effect on influenza cases in Australia over the last year.

Talking to press about the current COVID-19 outbreaks across the nation, the minister for health and aged care Greg Hunt revealed that the number of flu cases were down dramatically.

"In an average year, over the last five years, at this stage, we would have had 53,000 diagnosed flu cases and sadly 157 lives lost. At this point, there have been 408 cases diagnosed of influenza in Australia, and zero lives lost. It is an important by-product of all of the things we’ve been doing as a nation," Hunt said.

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