Most aged care residents in the Shoalhaven and Far South Coast have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, however it is unknown how many aged care employees in the region are vaccinated.
IRT Group CEO Patrick Reid confirmed all residents in IRT Aged Care Centres in the Shoalhaven and Eurobodalla began receiving their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from late March through to early May.
He said that all sites have now completed their second dose of the vaccine for residents, with aged care workers only receiving the vaccine if there are "extra doses" available.
"All IRT Aged Care Centres in the Shoalhaven and Eurobodalla will have been visited by the vaccine clinic administering the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to consenting residents," said Mr Reid.
"Aged care centre employees who are present and willing on the day have also been offered the vaccine if extra doses have been available."
Vaccination teams from Aspen, Sonic and the ADF visited the seven IRT Aged Care Centres in the Shoalhaven and Eurobodalla and vaccine is free, covered by the Federal Government.
Mr Reid said he hoped employees would have been able to be vaccinated as a part of these clinics.
"We have worked closely with the Department of Health to ensure our residents and their nominated representatives have been informed of the opportunity and the requirements for receiving the COVID-19 vaccination," he said.
"We had hoped that all our aged care employees would have also had the opportunity to receive the vaccine as part of these clinics as was initially planned. However, employees have only been able to get the vaccine when extra doses have been available."
Spokespeople from Coastal Waters aged care centre in Jervis Bay, Jean Ross House in Nowra, RSL LifeCare Jonathan Rogers GC House in Nowra also confirmed all of their residents had received both doses of the COVID vaccine, with indeterminate numbers on their employees.
"Given the vaccination program is voluntary, for privacy reasons we can't disclose how many of our residents or staff have been vaccinated," said the Coastal Waters spokesperson.
"Our priority is to keep our residents, staff and visitors as safe as possible as the global pandemic continues.
"With that in mind, we are providing incentives for all staff to become vaccinated. It is our hope that as additional state and government sites open up, more people in the community will go out and get the vaccine."
While the figures are unknown, this is set to change - as from June 15, all aged care facilities in Australia will be required to report numbers of vaccinated workers.
This comes after growing concerns surrounding the Victorian COVID outbreak, with nine of the positive cases from an aged care centre.
Concerns also grew after the Aged Care Services Minister Richard Colbeck could not give exact numbers on how many aged care workers had received a vaccination.
Minister Colbeck said this was because aged care workers were getting vaccinated through different avenues like GPs and vaccination hubs.
At the moment, COVID-19 vaccines are not mandatory for aged care workers, but are strongly recommended by the Australian Department of Health.
However, the federal government are inching closer towards making it mandatory.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said national cabinet agreed to an "in-principle disposition" to move towards mandatory vaccination for aged care workers", with the sector described as a priority at a press conference last Friday, June 4.
"Make no mistake, we are leaning heavily into this as a government and myself as prime minister to see a move towards mandatory vaccination for aged care workers," Morrison said.
Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), the national association for all providers of age services, is calling on all governments to work with the sector to accelerate the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations in aged care.
LASA CEO Sean Rooney said the decision not to mandate vaccination of aged care workers at this point in time should not slow the process of getting as many aged care staff as possible vaccinated.
"I urge the government to work with aged care providers to allow for on-site vaccination of staff so that they can get their doses done while at work in residential aged care instead of having to make a GP appointment outside of work hours," said Mr Rooney.
"Now that more doses of the Pfizer vaccination have been released and are now available to over 40s we encourage all staff working in aged care to get vaccinated as soon possible and to make an appointment for a second vaccine."
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