Will there be a mass exodus of aged care workers? Union urges Friday deadline be extended

Aged care workers mandatory jabs

The sector cannot afford to lose even 5% of its workforce, the HSU said, according to a report by The Guardian.

According to the federal government, 90.8% of aged care staff have received their first jab and 70.5% are fully vaccinated with two doses. 

With Friday, September 17, the deadline for aged care workers to have received at least one dose of the vaccine, the government expects the number of aged care staff receiving the vaccine to increase sharply in the next few days.

However, the Federal President of the HSU, Gerard Hayes, said the government needs to extend the deadline by two to four weeks because there is already a shortage of aged care workers and the workforce is under intense pressure.

Aged care workers need more time to have their questions answered, and to feel their concerns are being listened to, rather than being punished for their views, Hayes said.

“There are attrition and retention issues in aged care already,” he said. “It is already subject to workforce shortages.”

Hayes said only about 1% of people are “hardcore anti-vaxxers”, and about 8% would like to see more information about the jab.

A survey after a recent HSU webinar found information provided by doctors during the presentation caused 26% of attendees to change their mind about vaccination.

“It gave people the ability to ask questions and have those questions answered,” Hayes told The Guardian.

A recent poll on HelloCare’s Aged Care Worker Support Group showed 9% of members who responded to the poll plan to leave the sector due to mandatory vaccines.

But Health Minister Greg Hunt told The Guardian the government is expecting “a significant uptick [in vaccination numbers among aged care workers] over the coming days”.

National cabinet made the vaccine mandatory for aged care workers in June, and from the beginning there has been hesitancy from large numbers of staff in the sector.

It remains to be seen how providers or the government will enforce the mandatory requirement.

Labor’s health spokesman, Mark Butler, asked what will happen after Friday’s deadline.

The Prime Minister’s “simple advice” was that everyone should get vaccinated.

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  1. Very impressed with how most staff have stepped up and responded well. NSW now has an average of 90% first dose and many homes are already at 100% including Coniston, Warilla, Bundanoon and many more. Looks like the hesitancy rate has fallen away from 25% to now less than 5% off the back of much better information and better access to hospital hubs and in house clinics. Well done staff! You’ve ignored the misinformation and scaremongering and done something great for the safety of older people, as well as your colleagues, and your family and friends. Very impressed!

    1. All our staff and residents are fully vaccinated, time and availability haven’t been an issue. Every one has stepped up and done the right and safe thing which is greatly appreciated by families, residents and other staff.
      Those that haven’t taken the jab have done so deliberately and that’s their right and choice…along with unemployment.
      It’s not too much to ask of a “carer” to care enough to not bring Covid to work and where are they going to get another job when it’s mandated?

  2. Our workforce has shown support of the requirement to be vaccinated. We offered all staff a $100 gift card each, if we achieved 90% vaccination by the 1st September which we achieved. This was supported by in facility vaccination clinics conducted by the government contracted agencies. A significant proportion of our staff are immigrants, and when international travel opens up want the opportunity to visit their families overseas. They weighed up their options and decided to be vaccinated. Each person in the industry has the right to make a choice, one way or the other. The volume of information in relation to the vaccines that has been made available to the public and the industry is extraordinary. By now people have had the chance to be both informed and choose whether or not to be vaccinated. It has been months since the governments raised the likelihood that vaccination would be mandatory in the industry. And sufficient opportunities have been provided in metropolitan areas for them to be available.

  3. Disgusting that age care workers have been forced to resign or take this experimental jab. Will employers be held liable when adverse effects are rampant?

  4. If vaccine has not been available for an aged care worker then their provider must be able to solve that ?

    If a worker has chosen not to be vaccinated then the provider should be planning to fill that vacancy.

    Why should any user of aged care services be required to accept the risk of unvaccinated staff ?

    All age care clients are entitled to receive safe and high quality care.

    1. Max, I’m not sure if you know, fully vaccinated people can still contract and pass on the virus. This is written by the CDC, you can go there now to their website and read it. And if you believe the vaccine works, like it seems you do, why does anyone around you need the vaccine too if you are already ‘protected’?

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