Aged-care homes must offer staff flu jab

All aged-care facilities will be required to offer the flu jab to all staff under a federal government policy to prevent a recurrence of last year’s horror outbreak.

More than 1100 people died of influenza-related illnesses in 2017, the vast majority of them aged 65 or older.

Health Minister Greg Hunt and Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt announced on Sunday the government will make it mandatory for “every aged-care provider to offer the flu vaccine to every single worker”.

It has not been stated, however, what the next step would be if a member of staff refused to be vaccinated.

They also revealed a national review found a correlation between low vaccination rates among staff and a higher incidence of the flu in aged-care homes.

“This is why we are taking strong action to ensure the safety of senior Australians in aged care,” Mr Wyatt said.

“Vaccination is imperative for staff and residents in aged care, where the flu can have devastating consequences.”

The government has made two new flu vaccines available free of charge to more than three million Australians aged 65 years and over.

“Today we are taking further steps to ensure those seniors are protected even more, ahead of this year’s flu season,” Mr Hunt said.


* Only 3.5 per cent had the recommended staff coverage of 95 per cent or higher to gain herd immunity

* 35.9 per cent had the recommended resident coverage of 95 per cent or higher

* 43 per cent reported at least one influenza outbreak in the previous year

* Those providing in-house staff vaccination programs had higher coverage than those who only encouraged staff to go to an external immunisation provider.


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