Barely a third of the aged care workforce in South Australia is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 despite a looming federal deadline, statistics show.
- Federal health data shows only 35 per cent of SA’s aged care workers have received a second jab
- The equivalent figure among NDIS workers is even lower, at 28 per cent
- Labor spokeswoman Nat Cook said the roll-out among the disability sector had been “snail-paced”
The proportion of NDIS staff in SA to have undergone a second jab is even worse, with fewer than half having received a first dose.
According to data supplied by the federal Department of Health, 53 per cent of aged care staff in SA — or 14,891 of the 28,234 workers reported by providers — have so far received a first vaccine dose.
That figure includes the 9,742 who have had their second doses — or 35 per cent.
The federal government has imposed a September 17 deadline for all residential aged care workers, who will be required to have undergone a first dose by that date.
SA Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier today conceded that the vaccination rate among the state’s aged care cohort was below expectations.
“We need to do everything possible to make it as easy as possible for the workers to get vaccinated.
“We have a limited Pfizer supply, we’ve got certain groups that we have to get vaccinated as a priority.”
According to the federal data, 45 per cent of NDIS workers in SA — or 4,697 of the 10,238 — have so far received a first dose, including 2,961 (or 28 per cent) who are fully vaccinated.
The ABC requested the information after confusion at a state-run vaccination clinic for aged care and disability workers.
On Monday, it was revealed that a COVID-19 vaccination clinic run by South Australia’s Department of Human Services (DHS) allowed anyone over 18 to get a jab at its Highgate Park building, due to a “human error”.
Professor Spurrier said that, despite the error, it was important that the vaccine rollout continued to target those in priority sectors.
“It’s so critical we get all of our aged care and also disability care workers vaccinated,” she said.
“If people have been following the national news, it is likely that we will be mandating vaccination for aged care workers and we’ve got to make sure we have it accessible and we make sure that it’s available for that particular sector.”
Labor human services spokeswoman Nat Cook said there had been missed opportunities to accelerate the uptake of vaccines.
She said the mistake at Highgate highlighted the mismanagement of the roll-out.
“It’s just not good enough.”
Premier Steven Marshall said the Highgate clinic was “set up to provide the vaccination for aged care and disability workers”, and that remained the government’s priority.
“Those vaccine doses need to apply to the most vulnerable,” he said.
“The strong advice that I’ve received, that we’ve received in South Australia, is that the aged care and disability workforce are an area we need to prioritise.”
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