May 28, 2021

Federal government changes vaccination advice in rush to protect Victorian aged care sector

COVID vaccine elderly couple

Kelly said they should receive COVID shots even if they have just had their flu jabs.

The advice previously has been for a two-week interval between the flu and COVID shots.

As Victoria goes into a seven-day lockdown amid escalating cases, the federal government pulled out all stops to finalise the vaccination of the aged care sector in the state.

There are 598 residential aged care facilities in Victoria. On Wednesday the government said 569 facilities had received a first dose (with 361 fully vaccinated with both doses).

It said the remaining 29 facilities would be prioritised.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Thursday all Victorian facilities would be done by Friday.

He said 582 out of 598 facilities had been vaccinated.

“So that’s significantly advanced on yesterday again. Seven further today, and the remaining nine tomorrow.”

Before the acceleration, the Victorian facilities would not have been finished until next week.

“This includes if there is an imminent need to administer either of these vaccines because of the prevailing local epidemiological situation, for example, for protection from influenza or COVID-19,” Kelly said.

In light of the Victorian situation, he strongly recommended residents and workers in residential aged care receive their COVID-19 shots “as quickly as possible”. The shortened interval would not affect the effectiveness of the two vaccines, Kelly said.

In Victoria’s COVID second wave last year the residential aged care sector was hit disastrously, with hundreds of deaths.

The Victorian Aged Care Response Centre has been stood up again.

With businesses and citizens in Victoria bracing yet again for tough restrictions, the state’s acting premier James Merlino took a shot at the slow rollout.

The lockdown applies across the state, as some 10,000 primary and secondary contacts are traced.

Among the limited purposes for which people are allowed to leave their homes is to get vaccinated, and the outbreak is spurring many people to do so.

Merlino warned the outbreak could become uncontrollable unless quickly contained.

“We’re dealing with a highly infectious strain of the virus, a variant of concern, which is running faster than we have ever recorded,” he said.The Conversation

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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  1. 100% of residents and 90% of staff in Victorian state run facilities were vaccinated back in March/April as soon as vaccines were available.
    That’s the difference between State run and privately owned/ not for profit.
    Proves yet again that health care belongs in the hands of government.

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