Australia | Should Vaccinations Be Compulsory in Aged Care

A recent poll by The Australian Nursing Federation of 4000 members in WA has found that two-thirds of respondents believe that COVID-19 vaccinations should remain voluntary. Interestingly 31 percent said that they would leave the sector if compelled to get the vaccine.

Amid concerns about the slow rollout of vaccinations within the sector, state and federal leaders are considering enforcing mandatory vaccinations in aged care.

If vaccinations are compulsory, 85 percent of respondents believe that it should therefore follow that vaccinations would be mandatory for relatives and visitors. Staff also want to choose which vaccine they have, and enforced vaccinations could worsen staff shortages in the aged care sector.

The danger is that adopting policies that could exacerbate well-documented existing staffing shortages in the sector could create an even bigger staff shortage.

Earlier this month, prime minister Scott Morrison said state and federal leaders were "leaning heavily" towards forcing aged care workers to get vaccinated. Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly acknowledged that enforcing mandatory vaccinations could have the unintended consequence of staff leaving the sector.