Health Minister's vaccine claims slammed in explosive interview

·News Reporter
·4-min read

The federal health minister has been criticised over a blatant discrepancy concerning the percentage of Australians in aged care that have been vaccinated against coronavirus.

Health Minister Greg Hunt on Thursday told ABC 7.30 host Leigh Sales the vaccine rollout in aged care facilities in Victoria was 99 per cent complete, and would reach full completion by Friday.

His comments seemed to have raised serious doubts on Monday evening on Channel 10's The Project, when Melbourne woman Kate Howard claimed her mum, 95, who lives in a federally-run facility, is still yet to receive one dose of the vaccine.

This was despite expressing eagerness to be vaccinated since the rollout began in February, she told hosts.

Kate Howard said her 95-year-old mum had been waiting since February to be vaccinated. Source: The Project
Kate Howard said her 95-year-old mum had been waiting since February to be vaccinated. Source: The Project

"We've sent numerous emails to the health department, we've contacted local, state and federal MPs to try and get some answers, and we're just not getting any," Ms Howard said. 

In direct contradiction to what was days earlier claimed by Mr Hunt, the concerned daughter said not a single resident in the entire facility with her mum had been vaccinated. 

Ms Howard said in March when the facility sent vaccine consent forms, her family promptly filled theirs out and sent it back, but they are yet to receive word on when the vaccine would be administered.

"The whole notion of the fact that all aged care facilities in Victoria have been vaccinated, and only the ones who have not given consent haven't, is absolutely not correct," she said. 

"They have not received one jab yet ... they're waiting on their first dose. I believe less than half of the aged care workers have, off their own back, gone and got vaccinations, but the others are still remaining." 

Host Waleed Aly was shocked to learn no residents at the facility had been vaccinated. Source: The Project
Host Waleed Aly was shocked to learn no residents at the facility had been vaccinated. Source: The Project

Ms Howard said she had verified the information for herself through her constant communication with staff at the facility, and confirmed that the numbers were from Monday afternoon and were current figures.

The Project host Waleed Aly said the discrepancy "couldn't be more stark".

"It blows me away," he said.

Viewers fuming over 'lies'

Ms Howard's claims sparked an angry reaction online after her interview featured in a tweet, with viewers blasting Mr Hunt and his seemingly false claims. 

"Your lies have been exposed Greg Hunt. An entire aged care home has had zero jabs in Melbourne. So either your staff is lying to you or you are lying to us. Get off your ass and get this fixed," one person said. 

"The discrepancy is, the minister is a liar. The rollout of the vaccination program is an absolute disgrace," another irate viewer said. 

"A woman just on The Project claimed no residents in a nursing home in Melbourne have been vaccinated at all, not even a first dose, despite consenting and waiting. If true it directly contradicts Hunt's claims. Heads should roll," a third wrote.

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Someone else called on Mr Hunt to have an "extraordinary explanation" ready for Tuesday morning, or be prepared to hand in his resignation. 

Another person who identified themselves as an aged care worker claimed they had yet to receive the jab and there was "no scheduled date for any staff member".

The bombshell revelations came as it was revealed the ban on aged care workers completing shifts at different private facilities, run by the federal government, was lifted in November last year. 

With a new surge in cases in Victoria, there are growing concerns the ban being reinstated late last week will have serious consequences on case numbers, with three now linked to the Arcare Maidstone facility in Melbourne.

A total of 11 new locally acquired cases were recorded for Victoria on Monday. 

Yahoo News Australia has contacted the Department of Health for comment on the discrepancy.

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