It will now be mandatory for every aged care provider to offer the flu vaccine to every single worker.
For nurses and aged care workers refusing to get a flu vaccination they will be moved to different wards or even banned from shifts under a radical plan by the Turnbull Government to to maximise protection for senior Australians ahead of this year’s this flu season.
The Turnbull Government will mandate flu vaccines for aged care workers and today released results of a survey showing a significant link between increased staff immunisation and lower aged care influenza outbreaks.
“Today we are taking further steps to ensure those seniors are protected even more, ahead of this year’s flu season”, said Health Minister, Greg Hunt MP.
Last year it was reported flu-associated deaths accounted for over 1,100 Australian’s, with more than 90 per cent of these over the age of 65 years.
A total of 18 elderly people died across two homes alone in Victoria and Tasmania last year.
Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said “Alarmingly, in these two locations, well under half of the staff had been vaccinated.”
“Infection control was further compromised as dozens of staff were struck down with the flu, compounding a deadly situation.
The Government maintains that a vaccination rate of 95 per cent is needed among staff to create “herd immunity”.
A recent survey of 2,609 facilities showed there was only 3.5 per cent of aged care facilities had the recommended staff coverage.
Other key findings of the survey:
- 35.9 per cent had the recommended “resident coverage” of 95 per cent or higher
- 43 per cent reported at least one influenza outbreak in the previous year
A message from Minister Ken Wyatt:
“Vaccination is imperative for staff and residents in aged care, where the flu can spread quickly and have devastating consequences. I urge all Australians to have their flu shot, especially those who regularly visit loved ones living in aged care homes”, says Minister Wyatt.
“Every one of us has a responsibility to reduce the chance of spreading the virus among some of our most vulnerable citizens.”