Aged care COVID jab delay: Elderly now urged to see a GP

Exclusive: Politicians are advising 100,000 aged care residents still waiting for a COVID vaccine six weeks after the rollout began to go to their GP for the shot instead.

And some nursing home patients are refusing to have the vaccine because they are worried about side effects.

News Corp has been contacted by the relative of an elderly man in a private aged care facility who said his father still had no time frame on when he would get the jab.

In February, when the government announced that all aged care residents across Australia would be vaccinated within six weeks, the resident, aged in his 90s, signed the vaccine permission forms.

That period has now passed and neither the home he lives in, the Primary Health Network in his region, nor his local MP have any idea when he will get the vaccine.

"I rang his local federal member and his advice from his office was taking him to get a shot at a vaccine clinic," the man's son said.

Rembrandt Aged Care resident Tinne Nieuwenhoven receives the Pfizer Vaccine in the age care facility at Oaklands Park, SA. Picture: Emma Brasier
Rembrandt Aged Care resident Tinne Nieuwenhoven receives the Pfizer Vaccine in the age care facility at Oaklands Park, SA. Picture: Emma Brasier

"I can't do that because my father can't go out of the home, he's terrified of going out of the home."

"There doesn't seem to be transparency, it's unclear whether there is a plan or schedule," he said.

The Federal Government, which is responsible for vaccinating aged care residents, has conceded only half the 190,000 nursing home residents have had their shot.

The aged care rollout has been plagued by controversy and got off to a bad start when it emerged a doctor employed by the company rolling out the vaccine overdosed several patients and had not been trained in administering the vaccine.

The rollout was delayed while the contractor, Health Care Australia, stood aside while the matter was investigated.

Residents and their families have also complained that vaccine contractors have failed to turn up at homes to deliver vaccines on the dates appointed.

Australian Medical Association chief Dr Omar Khorshid said publicity about possible vaccine side effects such as deaths and blood clots was also worrying the elderly.

"We understand there has been some vaccine hesitancy in particularly in the European Communities on the basis of some of the reports we've seen from Europe," he said.

Aged care residents are most at risk from COVID-19 and were given the highest vaccine priority in group 1a of the rollout.

Their relatives are questioning why the government has moved on to start vaccinating other people in the second stage group 1b of the rollout before it completed vaccinating this highest priority group.

"All you need to have is someone, whether it be a visitor or worker unvaccinated, they might have been to Byron Bay, they visit an old folks home, one event like that could quite easily put us back to, where Victoria was in aged care," one aged care relative said.

HOW TO GET AN APPOINTMENT

*Aged care residents will be visited vaccine teams who will come to their facility

*Frontline health workers will be contacted by state government vaccine teams

*The over 70s, health care workers, emergency workers and people with chronic condition must contact a GP to make an appointment

*Online booking app HotDoc can make vaccine appointments at the GP's nearest to you

*Find one of the 1500 GP's providing vaccinations and make an appointment at Department of Health website

*Ring a GP listed as providing vaccines on the Department of Health website

Originally published as Aged care COVID jab delay: Elderly now urged to see a GP



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