Three things the ACTU says must change before the aged care worker vaccination deadline
The boss of Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is calling for three urgent changes to be made before COVID-19 vaccination for aged care workers is required.
All aged care workers must get their first dose of vaccine by mid-September.
While ACTU secretary Sally McManus supports the move to mandate vaccination for aged care workers, she says workers need more support.
Ms McManus says three changes — in-workplace vaccination programs, a choice of vaccines, and more funds to pay workers for sick leave if they suffer vaccine side effects — are needed.
“Fix those three things … this is what needs to happen to make sure we support people,” she told Tony Jones, filling in for Neil Mitchell.
There are concerns about how workers will access vaccines, and Ms McManus says they can’t be expected to spend their own time hunting for an appointment.
While the federal government has announced $11 million to cover sick leave for workers who have adverse reactions to the jab, the ACTU says that isn’t enough.
“There’s just under 200,000 aged care workers who haven’t had the vaccination yet, so you do the maths on that, that’s $30 per worker, per jab. That would only cover maybe an hours work,” Ms McManus said.
“It’s not going to cover what’s needed.”
Ms McManus says workers under 40, who cannot currently access Pfizer, must be given a choice between the two vaccines available in Australia.
“If you’re saying it’s mandatory for aged care workers, surely at least they deserve a choice over which vaccine they get,” she said.
Press PLAY below to hear more of Ms McManus’s concerns