Flu jab offer compulsory for aged-care staff
The Federal Government is ordering aged-care homes to offer their staff a flu vaccination this year.
The action comes after last year’s deadly influenza season that saw about 1,000 people aged over 65 die of complications related to influenza.
Workers cannot be forced to accept the vaccine, but it will be compulsory for them to be offered it.
Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said vulnerable people living in aged-care facilities were much more likely to be affected by the virus.
He pointed to the deaths of 18 people at just two centres last year.
“Alarmingly, in these two locations, well under half of the staff had been vaccinated,” Mr Wyatt said.
“Infection control was further compromised as dozens of staff were struck down with the flu, compounding a deadly situation.
“What this policy will do is offer every person a flu vaccination.”
The Government maintains that a vaccination rate of 95 per cent is needed among staff to create “herd immunity”.
But according to a recent survey of 2,609 facilities, there were only a handful of centres with that vaccination rate.
The influenza vaccine is already free for people over 65 years of age.
Mr Wyatt has also appealed to people visiting relatives and friends in aged care homes to get the flu shot.