Catholic Health Australia, a peak advisory body for not-for-profit hospitals and aged care, is urging the South Australian Government to follow the example set by other states and urgently mandate the vaccination of healthcare workers against Covid-19.
The organisation has been calling for the mandatory vaccination of the Australian health workforce since mid-July. NSW was the first state to move and issued a public health order to its workers to get vaccinated in August. Since then, Western Australia, Tasmania, and Queensland have followed.
“The high transmissibility of the Delta variant of Covid makes South Australia’s hospitals extremely vulnerable and we need that vaccination rate as high as it can possibly go,” said Catholic Health Australia Health Policy Director, James Kemp.
‘Tie down the tarp before the storm’
“South Australia has been relatively fortunate to date in terms of Delta, but that’s all the more reason to tie down the tarp before the storm strikes.
“A blanket public health order by the South Australian Government would take the decision-making out of the hands of operators – it’s a safer and more thorough approach.”
He said the South Australian Government needed to send a clear and unambiguous message: if you work in healthcare you must be vaccinated against Covid.
“The majority of staff working in the Catholic sector have been vaccinated, of course, but a government mandate would give a nudge to the few remaining staff who are unvaccinated.
Healthcare workers get other jabs
“Mandating Covid vaccines for hospital staff should hardly be considered controversial. Already healthcare workers are required to get jabs to protect against the likes of measles, mumps, and rubella. This would be a straightforward extension of that requirement.”
Earlier this month, Catholic Health Australia welcomed the confirmation by WA that it was mandating that health workers be vaccinated.
“Every day we delay is another day where patients are exposed to unnecessary risk. There is no reason why we shouldn’t be targeting double doses for all hospital workers by Christmas or sooner.
“Most hospital workers are already getting vaccinated. But for the minority who are hesitating for whatever reason, that hard push from the government will draw a line in the sand,” the organisation said at the time.