As the Australian government prepares to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine to people living in aged care homes, disability specific accommodation, and to our frontline workers, the inevitable discussion of choice is being raised.
It makes perfect sense to want to protect our loved ones from any future risk or harm. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) have given provisional approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in Australia after a complete assessment and approval process. This is challenging for some, who fear that the timeline has been too short, and the long-term outcomes are still unknown.
Context can influence our thinking in these moments. If we were living in the UK or other countries ravaged by the pandemic, would our response be different? In South Australia we have been fortunate through a combination of strong leadership and unique geography that we have been spared the terrible situation experienced in other parts of the world.
Reflecting upon the devastating effect of the COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria last year where hundreds of aged care residents lost their lives, there is good reason to want to protect people living in aged care. Over 2,000 cases of COVID-19 contracted by residents and staff were reported in Victoria. First-hand accounts from the people who were working in these homes were grim and provide a stark reminder about what is at stake.
On that basis, there are others who would advocate making the vaccine mandatory for all Australians, medical exemptions aside. This is also an understandable position to take, as it would provide greater surety that we were doing all we possibly could to protect our community from the virus.
I for one will be lining up for my vaccination when my turn comes. It will give me comfort to know that I will be doing everything that I can to keep our vulnerable residents and clients safe, not to mention my own family.
It is pleasing that the Australian government has recognised the importance of protecting our most vulnerable and the frontline workers who are providing their support. For once, our elders needs are being put first.
Darren Birbeck, Chief Executive Officer Resthaven Incorporated
For all the information about the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine at Resthaven, please go to https://www.resthaven.asn.au/covid-19-vaccination-information/