The CEO of an aged care operator in Shepparton says families of residents are taking them to local doctors to get COVID-19 vaccinations, due to the uncertainty of the government’s immunization program.
- Shepparton Villages has not received confirmation on when their residents will received their COVID-19 vaccine.
- CEO Veronica Jamison says some families of residents are taking them to local GPs to be vaccinated.
- Murray PHN says all private aged care residents in the region should be vaccinated by the end of May.
Shepparton Villages operates three residential aged care villages with more than 300 beds across the sites and is one of the biggest providers of aged care services in the Goulburn Valley.
The facility is a community-based, not-for-profit organisation and comes under the Federal Government’s immunisation program.
CEO Veronica Jamison said it was a shame that families felt they had to take matters into their own hands to protect their elderly relatives.
“I’m absolutely surprised, I think given the significance of people living in residential aged care homes — and the terrible things that happened during COVID-19 — I would have thought that it would have been absolute top priority to have all of the residents across Australia immunised first before anybody else was immunised,” Ms Jamison said.
She said Shepparton Villages had received an indication that their residents might be vaccinated in early May, however the operators were yet to receive confirmation.
Ms Jamison said the uncertainty was delaying the rollout of flu vaccines for residents.
Vaccine delivery to begin soon
Murray Primary Health Network (PHN) is helping with the coordination of the government’s vaccine rollout in the region.
The network takes in towns and cities across North East Victoria, Goulburn Valley, Central Victoria and North West Victoria including Albury, Shepparton, Bendigo and Mildura.
CEO Matt Jones said the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine to private aged care residents in the region had taken longer than had been anticipated.
“The realities are the supply of Pfizer and the availability of the vaccinators through the Aspen Medical Services has meant that it has taken some time,” he said.
There are about 70 private aged care facilities in the Murray PHN, and Mr Jones said the schedule for the delivery of vaccines to the facilities had now come through.
“It’s certainly been the case that that was not known to all aged care facilities nor ourselves and others,” he said.
Mr Jones said it was hoped residents in all private aged care facilities in the Murray PHN would be vaccinated by the end of May.
He said additional capabilities had been provided to help with the delivery of the vaccine to aged care residents and recent changes had been made to improve the access of vaccinations to aged care staff.