Aged care providers and the union movement have united to reject the current blame shifting on vaccination, saying it is government failures that have caused low vaccination rates, not workers.
Providers and unions have been calling for fast action on vaccinating workers within the high-risk sector for at least six months, however the government’s aged care vaccine program has too often led to disappointment, frustration, confusion and anger.
The Australian Aged Care Collaboration – a coalition of peak organisations for aged care employer groups – has joined with the ANMF, AWU, UWU, HSU, ASU and the ACTU to demand that the Morrison Government implement the five following principles into a rollout strategy that will support aged care workers to be vaccinated quickly and safely using the Pfizer vaccine only:
- Ensure client, resident and worker safety
- Government funded workplace vaccination and prioritised access to vaccination providers near workplaces
- Paid leave to access vaccinations and recover from effects or reactions if needed
- Targeted vaccine education and communication
- Transparency and accountability on vaccine data and supply
Aged care workers were told at the beginning of 2021 that they were first priority and would receive easy access to the vaccine in their workplace. This did not happen.
The only way to improve vaccine pick up is to make it easy for workers, not to shame them.
Aged care workers are some of the hardest working yet lowest paid in the country.
Aged care workers are at the frontline and delivering care to our most vulnerable in the middle of a pandemic.
Quote attributable to HSU National President Gerard Hayes
“It is infuriating to see workers treated as a scapegoat for the Government’s vaccine failures.
We need an aggressive education campaign that points out the benefits of vaccines and dispels myths.
The Federal Government should give the PR stunts a rest and focus on the substance of empowering workers and employers to get vaccinated.”
The decision to stop the payments will hurt essential and low paid health, aged care and disability workers.