When the first doses of vaccines started arriving in Australia, aged care facilities around the country were promised that staff and residents would be vaccinated by the end of April 2021. In the planned first phase of the vaccine rollout, the government said that 2,500 care facilities would receive their vaccines.
However, as the end of April looms, and the vaccine rollout falls further behind each day, one care home in Victoria hasn’t received a single vaccine dose for either residents or staff.
But with a lack of vaccines, or any information regarding when they will receive their doses, Sacred Heart remains in the dark.
Sacred Heart is far from the only facility in this situation. Hundreds of care facilities around the country remain without vaccines, causing another aged care home in Victoria to take matters into their own hands and administer vaccines to their staff and residents themselves, recently becoming fully vaccinated across the facility.
“Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the rollout of vaccines was his key priority for 2021,” Mr Albanese told The Age.
“He is clearly bungling this critical task.”
Chief Executive at Sacred Heart, Cathy Humphrey, told The Age that at the start of March, she took a month of leave, expecting to return to vaccinated residents and staff. When she returned to zero vaccinations having taken place, she began to campaign.
“I expected our aged care facility would have been vaccinated when I came back,” she explained.
“I would have thought the logistics of it would have been set up quite swiftly.
“It’s rare that we would have to advocate for something like this that should just happen as a matter of course,” Cathy continued.
While the facility has been told to expect their first vaccines in mid-May, Ms Humphries said the possibility for further delays remains.
Josh Burns, Federal MP for Macnamara, the area covering St Kilda, said his office had been receiving calls from other homes “concerned about the lack of pace” on vaccinations.
“There are some dates being set for some centres but most of those dates are in May, and that’s just the first jab,” he told The Age.
“That’s not the staff, that’s just the residents – staff are being told to go to the GP. And, of course, they can’t get in.”
He also accused the Morrison government of “running a line” about the recent AstraZeneca recommendation changes as causes of the vaccine delays.
“That’s absolute nonsense. Way before any change in medical advice, the federal government was already way behind. They’ve now just decided to drop all semblance of targets.”