National News

Booster shot welcome but must be compulsory for all health and aged care workers

Catholic Health Australia has welcomed the approval of a booster COVID-19 shot but is calling on the federal government to ensure health and aged care workers remain a priority and that the shots are compulsory.

CHA, the largest non-government provider grouping of health, community and aged care services in Australia, has been advocating strongly for a booster to be approved for a number of months. Frontline staff who got their first jabs early in the year have been worried their immunity is likely to be dropping.

CHA’s health policy manager Alex Lynch said the sector was relieved by the Pfizer booster approval, but the government needed to do more to ensure safety.

“As we have been saying for weeks, there is strong evidence that the immunity offered against Delta by two vaccine doses wears off significantly after eight months,” Mr Lynch said.

“So, doctors, nurses, and those in aged care who got their first shots early are becoming vulnerable. They need that booster.”

Mr Lynch added: “It’s good that health and aged care workers are in that priority group, but we need that booster shot to be a compulsory condition for working in hospitals as well as residential and community aged care.”

“We need the government to send an unambiguous message: if you work in health or aged care then you must be vaccinated.

Mandating Covid vaccines for hospital staff should not be thought of as controversial; healthcare workers are already required to get jabs to protect against the likes of measles, mumps, and rubella.