AMA calls for 30 June deadline for Phase 1A vaccination rollout
AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid has written to Health Minister Greg Hunt calling for a 30 June deadline for the completion of Phase 1A of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout and says the AMA supports the mandatory vaccination of aged care workers.
Dr Khorshid said this week he’d been disappointed to learn that the Department of Health had been unable to confirm how many workers in aged care had received a first vaccination shot, and said Australia was more vulnerable than ever to a large-scale outbreak of COVID-19 due to public complacency, new variants and low vaccination rates.
“Commonwealth outreach services to aged care and disability services should be boosted, and rapid response teams deployed in greater numbers to aged care facilities with low vaccination take up. Governments need to work together to ensure completion of the aged care rollout as soon as possible.”
It is important to ensure aged-care workers are not disadvantaged in seeking to get vaccinated. “If they are required to attend work on a rostered day off to be vaccinated, they should be paid. If they need time off to visit a GP or vaccination hub, this should be treated as paid leave. We should not be forcing aged-care workers - who are generally low-paid - to choose between providing for their families and getting vaccinated.”
Dr Khorshid also called on the Government to provide GPs with the funding support they need to provide advice and support to vaccine-hesitant patients.
“These patients require more time with their GP; however, the current Medicare structure only supports very short consultations. This is discouraging patients and GPs alike and slowing down our roll out through general practice,” he said.