May 27, 2021

Melbourne in lockdown again: Why have 29 aged care homes still not been vaccinated?

Aged care covid vaccine

The news comes despite the fact that 655 residents died last year during Victoria’s devastating second wave.

Shadow Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler this morning told Steve Price, “To know that 40% of aged care facilities in Melbourne have not been fully vaccinated and I think, scandalously, 29 have not received even a single dose when they were promised all across the country to be vaccinated fully by Easter…

Authorities are now scrambling to vaccinate residents at the homes who have not yet received any vaccines. Four of the 29 homes received their first dose on Wednesday, and another 25 are now being prioritised.

Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck told the Nine Network this morning, “We’ve prioritised those [homes].

During the 7-day circuit-breaker lockdown, there will be no visitors allowed in aged care homes.

During the press conference, Merlino said the virus was spreading at an alarming rate, prompting the decision to enforce a snap lockdown.

“In the last day, we’ve seen more evidence that we’re dealing with a highly infectious strain of the virus, a variant of concern which is running faster than we have ever recorded,” the Acting Premier said.

Get vaccinated: “It could save your life”

Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said some of the Victorians at the centre of the outbreak had not been vaccinated, despite the fact they were eligible.

Health Minister Martin Foley stressed at this morning’s press conference, “If you are eligible to get vaccinated, make yourself a plan to do that today to get it done.” 

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners president Karen Price said there has been an increase in demand for vaccines.

“Anyone who wants a vaccination should be able to get one,” Dr Price said. To those hesitant about the AstraZeneca vaccine, she said, “It could save your life.”

Mass vaccination centres have been open across Victoria, however, a nurse working at one of the hubs expressed her frustration last week over the lack of people getting vaccinated, after administering only one shot in an eight-hour shift.

According to The Guardian Australia, the nurse – who requested to remain anonymous – said that she was “furious” at the “snail’s pace” of the vaccine rollout around the country. 

“It’s slow, it’s frustrating for the nurses, and it’s concerning that Australia seems to take this attitude of, ‘let’s just shut the borders for as long as possible’ while there is a vaccine just sitting there.” 

Comparing the rate of vaccine uptake to places like the UK and the US, where people are lining up out of the door to receive their vaccine doses at clinics and centres, she described the incredible differences between the approaches. 

According to the anonymous nurse, the issue has nothing to do with vaccine availability, telling The Guardian Australia that there are more than enough available doses. Rather, the rate of people coming through the doors is what is causing the issues. 

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