Qld to 'step in' with aged care vaccines

·2-min read

Queensland's aged care and disability workers are at the front of the COVID vaccine queue after the Victorian outbreak raised concern about the rollout speed in private facilities.

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said residential aged care and disability support workers will be given priority access to the Pfizer vaccine.

"Not all of our workers who were supposed to be vaccinated already by the Commonwealth in the 1A group have been done, we're not going to wait any longer," Ms D'Ath said on Wednesday.

"We will look after you, we will give you Pfizer, which means you can be fully vaccinated in three weeks."

The Victorian government announced on Tuesday it would prioritise COVID vaccinations for workers in private facilities.

It's unclear how many aged care workers are currently fully vaccinated in Queensland.

"What we do know is not all of them are done, but we haven't got definitive figures because the Commonwealth themselves have said they cannot give us exact figures," Ms D'Ath said.

"We ask employers, owners of residential aged care and disability facilities, talk to your staff today, get them online and registered, and we will make sure that we are vaccinating you."

Workers should have been vaccinated at the same time as residents, Ms D'Ath said.

"We want to step in and help, we want to get them all vaccinated (and) we don't want to risk the most vulnerable people in our community being exposed to COVID," she said.

There were nearly 258,000 Queenslanders accessing state-run and private aged care or home support in June 2020, according to the federal figures.

About 33,500 people were working in residential aged care facilities alone in the state at the time of the last census in 2016.

All state and private aged care residents, home care users and workers require two vaccine doses.

That means about 583,000 doses at the very least will need to be administered for Queensland's aged care sector to be fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, there may be changes to current border restrictions following confirmation the lockdown in Melbourne will be extended while restrictions ease in regional areas.

"We had put in place a hotspot declaration for the whole of Victoria up until tomorrow, and I'll be taking the advice of the acting Chief Health Officer as to what we should be doing going forward," Ms D'Ath said.

Given a positive case from Victoria travelled to NSW, Ms D'Ath said there would be a "wait and see" approach to both states.

Queensland reported no new community cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, with one new case in hotel quarantine.