Worrying new data has found up to 30 per cent of aged care residents have not had their Covid-19 jab. Ian Yates, CEO of Councils on the Ageing (COTA) Australia, said the most recent data, obtained by The Guardian, showed most aged care homes have reported a refusal rate of between 5 per cent and 15 per cent.
While the data did not reveal why some residents were shunning the jab, Yates reckons it could be down to a lack of communication from aged home providers. He also said doctors would not have recommended it for a significant number of residents, due to underlying health conditions.
“I think there are different providers who have different levels of engagement with their residents,” he said, The Guardian reports. “The communication skills from these providers varies enormously and that plays a large role in how well they’re actually able to prepare them for the vaccine and its benefits.
“If there are managers and providers who do not usually have strong interaction with the residents of the home [and] then suddenly they are telling everyone to line up for vaccinations, that might not be so well received.”
Yates said the federal government is now looking into the matter, to find out why so many residents have chosen not to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck, reportedly said, “The Department of Health is examining overall consent data to review instances where consent rates are significantly low as part of planning for any required follow up activity with these facilities. This includes early discussions on consent, including engagement with family and guardians, and treating general practitioners, as required.”
The shock findings come as the latest Guardian Essential poll found one in four voters believes the Morrison government is doing a “very poor” or “quite poor” job of handling the pandemic. This comes as Victoria was forced into a strict two-week lockdown following a recent outbreak. The decision to go into lockdown didn’t sit well with many Victorians, whose view is that if the government had rolled out the vaccine faster, they wouldn’t be in their fourth lockdown. So far, about 5.02 million Australians have been given at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
It also comes less than a week after the prime minister flagged the possibility of mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for aged care workers. Speaking to the media at the time, Morrison said it was important for those working in residential aged card facilities to be vaccinated as soon as possible.
In the same week, it was also revealed that the government didn’t have an exact figure on how many aged care workers had received the jab. Because of this, all aged care facilities will have to report worker vaccinations from June 15, ABC News reported.