Aged care facilities left waiting for vaccines amid confusion over rollout

Aged care facilities left waiting for vaccines amid confusion over rollout

“It would help us enormously if we knew which aged care facilities had received the vaccine. It would really assist us, just in terms of our own planning projections.

“We don’t want to see vials of doses sitting there without being distributed.”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he had reports of aged care residents sitting, waiting for the vaccine since the roll-out began.

“Aged care residents… who have other health issues have been stressed beyond belief in the last 12 months,” he said.


“It would be helpful if there was clarity and certainty and actual delivery… so they don’t have their grief and anguish added to. So I think there’s a lot of work to be done on that front.”

There are two coronavirus vaccines approved for use in Australia: the Pfizer vaccine, which is already being administered to priority groups, and the AstraZeneca vaccine, which will be given to most of the Australian population.

NSW has administered 14,600 Pfizer vaccines to frontline workers in phase 1a of the rollout through its hospital vaccination hubs, including two thirds of the state’s 6500 quarantine workers.

The state is expected to hit 15,000 vaccinations by the end of Wednesday.

Mr Hazzard said authorities had expected to rely on the Pfizer vaccine for the first two phases of the rollout.

However, the arrival of 300,000 AstraZeneca doses at the weekend had resulted in added supply for early groups, with the first doses to be given next Wednesday.

“I must say, as Health Minister, my view is that we should be doing everything possible to roll out what now appears to be available in vast quantities, and that is AstraZeneca,” he said.

While NSW is administering vaccines to frontline workers through its hospital vaccination hubs, aged care staff and residents included in this stage are being vaccinated by the federal government.

The Premier and Health Minister said they first learnt the federal government had decided to use ADF personnel to administer vaccinations in the aged care sector in media reports on Tuesday.

“It would be really helpful if we were now given a letter of confirmation of what was apparently given to the media yesterday, and a plan and schedule to understand exactly how the ADF are going to work in NSW,” Mr Hazzard said.

Ms Berejiklian said she appreciated the complexity of sharing information when rolling out a national vaccine, but she would be raising the issue at national cabinet on Friday.

She also confirmed her government had suggested the Service NSW app for use as a vaccine passport, to ensure NSW citizens were not held back by other states.

“We’re always open to considering incentives that our state might offer which other states may choose not to offer, because we have had a bit of a different pathway to dealing with COVID.”

NSW recorded no new local coronavirus cases for the 45th consecutive day on Wednesday. There were six cases recorded in hotel quarantine, and 17,047 tests in the latest reporting period.

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