Colac Area Health has informed its staff who work with aged-care residents about State Government COVID-19 vaccination directives.
The Colac Herald incorrectly reported that Colac Area Health had granted leeway to COVID-19 unvaccinated Corangamarah staff members, despite a Federal Government mandatory vaccination date.
The Federal Government ruled that all aged-care workers must have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose by last Friday, but Colac Area Health follows State Government directives.
Under State Government directives, the health service must inform workers that it will be requesting the workers to provide information and evidence that they have received a full or partial
COVID-19 vaccination by September 17, that they have made a booking to receive a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by October 1 or can’t receive a vaccine due to an exception.
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“Colac Area Health is fully compliant with the mandatory vaccination requirements coming into effect,” the health service said.
“Colac Area Health has worked closely with all staff working with aged-care residents to ensure they have been fully informed ahead of the State Government’s directive for all staff working in residential aged care to have received, or planning to receive, their COVID-19 vaccination as per the guidelines from the Department of Health and Human Services.”
The Colac Herald apologises for the error.
The health service’s chief executive Fiona Brew told the Colac Herald that Corangamarah staff members who had not received a COVID-19 vaccine were currently looking at their options.
Mrs Brew did not confirm how many Corangamarah staff members had not received a COVID-19 vaccine, but said it was “not many”.
Since the start of the vaccine rollout, Colac Area Health has encouraged staff to get a COVID-19 vaccine but also respected people’s choice not to get a jab.
Mrs Brew said Colac Area Health would not stand down unvaccinated staff but they might ultimately decide to not work at the health service.
“At this point they’ve still got options and opportunities to be vaccinated and some people are thinking about that,” she said.
“There’s timelines around getting a first dose by (today) or showing evidence of booking their first dose over the next fortnight.
“Staff also have access to their leave if they require time out and we’re absolutely supportive of that.
“We do know that some of our staff will choose not to be vaccinated and we absolutely respect that but there is a requirement that staff will need to be vaccinated to be able to work in aged care and we’re working through that with our staff.
“The staff that are affected, quite often they’re staff that have been with the organisation for some time and are valued employees of Colac Area Health and we want to make sure that they are respected and supported,” Mrs Brew said.
She said there had been clear lines of communication between her and staff members about vaccination information, advice, workplace rules and timeframes, and that aged-care staff had been prioritised.
Mrs Brew said vaccinating aged-care staff would keep the community’s most vulnerable residents safe.
She said redeploying staff to other Colac Area Health sectors was not an option due to aged people in other hospital wards.
Mrs Brew said economic factors could also impact the decision to get vaccinated and that she wanted staff to feel supported.
“Ultimately they have the choice and need to make that choice but seeing that there aren’t other options on the table can in fact inform as well,” she said.