Oct 20, 2021

Home care clients want mandatory vaccinations for home care workers

Home care clients want mandatory vaccinations for home care workers

Queensland users of home care services have told the ABC home care workers should be vaccinated against COVID-19 to prevent them from spreading the potentially deadly virus from home to home.

Queensland resident Sue told the ABC her carer works at 40 homes per fortnight, and is regularly in contact with members of the community who are older or immunocompromised.

She was “shocked” to discover her carer was unvaccinated, and the aged care provider she works for, Anglicare Southern Queensland, does have the power to ask home care staff about vaccination status.

“I have rung Anglicare and I’ve also rung the service that my mother uses… and they’ve told me they do not know which of their staff are vaccinated or not; that they don’t even have the right to ask them,” Sue told the ABC.

Sue receives help at home with cleaning because she has a health condition.

Anglicare Southern Queensland told the ABC it is up to home care staff if they wish to get vaccinated, but they encourage all staff to get the jab.

Queensland’s Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said mandatory vaccination for healthcare workers was the responsibility of the federal government.

However, a spokesperson for the federal Department of Health told the ABC mandating of vaccines for healthcare workers is done through public health health orders, which are the responsibility of the states.

“It is important all in-home and community aged care workers across Australia are vaccinated to minimise the risk of COVID-19 entering the homes of vulnerable seniors,” the spokesperson for the federal Department of Health told the ABC.

The Commonwealth Department of Health has issued a Guide for Home Care Providers to assist staff in reducing the risk of COVID-19.

Queensland has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with only 58% of the population double jabbed. Only Western Australia has a lower rate at 57%.

By comparison, both the ACT and NSW’s populations are 82% fully vaccinated.

In states where case numbers have been lower, there has been less impetus for the population to be vaccinated. This trend applies not only to the broad population, but also to healthcare workers.

NSW home care staff must be fully vaccinated by 29 November

In NSW, any person who provides disability services or in-home and community aged care must have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by 9am 25 October 2021, and a second dose by 9am 29 November 2021. 

All people receiving home care service in NSW are urged to wear a surgical mask during provision of home care service.

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