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Health law expert slams ‘entirely reactive’ response to COVID-19 in aged care

Ross and Russel
Article image for Health law expert slams ‘entirely reactive’ response to COVID-19 in aged care

A health law expert says a decision on whether the COVID-19 jab should be mandatory for aged care workers should have been made months ago.

There are reports today that aged care workers in the public sector, who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19, will be taken off frontline duties.

The Age reports Department of Health secretary Euan Wallace says the expectation is that all high-risk-facing healthcare workers are vaccinated for both flu and COVID-19.

It comes as concerns for aged care grow as Victoria’s outbreak infiltrates the system, with aged care staff at two facilities and a resident at one home testing positive to COVID-19.

It’s now become widely known that aged care workers were allowed to work across multiple sites, after the tough rules introduced during Victoria’s deadly outbreak were relaxed late last year.

Head of the Health Law and Ageing Research Unit at Monash University, Professor Joseph Ibrahim, says a decision on worker vaccinations should’ve been made months ago.

“This discussion really needed to happen much earlier this year and we should have had a policy about it back in February,” he told Ross and Russel.

“We’ve just been entirely reactive from the start of last year.

“Addressing a pandemic, and this is a once in a century experience, is not easy or straightforward and mistakes will be made. I think the biggest mistake is not including the community in the decision-making, not having us actively involved.

“All along we’ve just been told as if dad is looking after it, rather trying to treat us as equals.”

Press PLAY below for Professor Ibrahim’s thoughts on the government’s handling of the pandemic

 

Ross and Russel
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