Monash MP Russell Broadbent says he’ll fix the problem with staff vaccination reporting.

 

GRIFFITHS Point Lodge Hostel at San Remo and Crossley House Hostel at Yarram are on the National map for all the right reasons.

They’ve hit 90%-100% of staff who are either partly or fully vaccinated.

But, at the other end of the scale locally, are facilities that have been outed by a new interactive map, on the Australian Government Health Department website, for having low staff vaccination rates.

They include Prom Country Aged Care at Foster, listed at 40% to 49% of staff with at least one dose and Melaleuca Aged Care at Cowes on 60%-69% vaccinated.

Only problem is, the map, supposedly updated daily, is wrong, certainly in the case of Prom Country Aged Care, where effectively 95% of staff have received at least one dose.

“It’s embarrassing. We had to front the board with an explanation and it’s just not true,” said Care Manager at Prom Country, Jeanette Elliott.

“It wasn’t just the board, the residents and their families, who are very concerned about this sort of thing any way, were really worried.

“A number of them have contacted us for an explanation.

“But were at 87% as the number of staff who received at least one dose, the majority of those double vaccinated. And we’d have another six or seven you’ve received one dose but we haven’t got their forms back yet and I’m only recording them when I get the forms.”

Ms Elliott said Prom Country Aged Care, which had 68 beds and 118 staff, including running a kitchen and laundry, had worked hard to encourage and educate staff about the need to be vaccinated.

“We’ve received great support from the Foster Medical Group, which runs a vaccination clinic, and they’ve given priority to our staff which has been a terrific help,” Ms Elliott said.

“We’ve asked the Department (Australian Government Department of Health) to change it (on the vaccination map) but so far to no avail. It’s embarrassing having that number still up there for all to see.”

The Sentinel-Times contacted Monash MP Russell Broadbent asking him to make representations on behalf of Foster’s Prom Country Aged Care, and he is looking into it.

Form September 17, 2021, it is mandatory that all staff at aged and disability facilities and services be vaccinated, with at least one dose.

Aged and disability staff were listed in the 1a Category for priority vaccination in February 2021 but delays in the availability of vaccines, especially Pfizer, the government’s failure to rollout vaccines to staff when residents were jabbed and some reluctance on the part of staff has left aged care facilities at risk

So, with a grain of salt or two, here are the vaccination rates at our local aged care facilities:

* Rose Lodge, Wonthaggi(percentage of staff with at least one COVID-19 vaccination dose) 80% to 89%.

* Kirrak House Wonthaggi 70% to 79%.

* Koorooman House Nursing Home, Leongatha 80% to 89%.

* Alchera House 80% to 89%.

* Hillside Lodge Hostel 70% to 79%.

* Prom Country Aged Care, Foster 90% (incorrectly rated at 40% to 49%)

* Crossley House Hostel Inc Yarram 90% to 100%.

* Griffiths Point Lodge Hostel San Remo 90% to 100%.

* Melaleuca Aged Care, Cowes 60% to 69%.

* Banfields Aged Care, Cowes 80% to 89%.

* BlueCross Grossard Court, Cowes 70% to 79%.

* Strzelecki House Mirboo North 70% to 79%.

Inverloch Coast Care Community Service, Inverloch, 70% to 79%.

‘We’ll be fully compliant”, says BCH CEO

Bass Coast Health CEO Jan Child said there had been a strong focus on getting staff at all BCH facilities fully vaccinated and she acknowledged that the new rules, making it mandatory for all aged and disability care staff to get vaccinated by September 17 would help.

“We presently have 80 per cent of the staff across Bass Coast Health facilities with at least one does of vaccination and 70 per cent fully vaccinated.

“And we are strongly encouraging everyone to become fully vaccinated.

“At Griffiths Point Lodge (San Remo) just one of our 35 staff members remains to be vaccinated, while at Kirrak House (Wonthaggi), eight of our 44 staff are as yet not vaccinated.

“Often, it’s a situation that if you have one or two staff members at a site who have decided they don’t want to get vaccinated, they can convince others but at Griffiths Point, we’ve had a staff group who really get it. They’ve looked at the science and they’ve been very clear about what they have to do.

“At Kirrak, we’ve had a few who haven’t wanted to get vaccinated but we’re hoping that will change now that it’s been made mandatory for aged and disability care staff to have at least one dose by September 17.

“Fortunately, the industrial framework is now in place to support that, but otherwise we’ll have to look at moving those staff on or moving them to other roles that don’t involve front-line care, which does make it difficult.”

Ms Child said it was some time since health and aged care staff were able to get priority access to Pfizer, as well as AstraZeneca, and she didn’t believe access to Pfizer was a reason why some staff had not yet been vaccinated.

But the deadline of September 17 is looming.

“Yes, we will be able to meet that deadline at our aged care sites.”

Ms Child said that while getting BCH staff ‘double vaccinated’ was a priority, it wasn’t a panacea for stopping the virus.

“While it will stop people getting sick or dying from COVID-19, it doesn’t stop them contracting the virus and passing it on, so we’ve still got to put all the precautions in place and we’re constantly reminding our staff to be aware of where the exposure sites are and also to be aware of the health advice changes.”

Ms Child said that 91 per cent of the residents at Kirrak were fully vaccinated but two of the 28 still remained to be vaccinated.

“It’s not compulsory for residents to be vaccinated, but it’s strongly recommended, and we’re speaking with the families, encouraging them to get their family member vaccinated.

“We have however moved to the policy that no one will be admitted to our aged-care facilities if they’re not vaccinated.

At Crossley House Yarram

A spokesperson for Yarram and District Health Service which operates the Crossley House Hostel and St Elmo’s Nursing Home at Yarram said the health service had worked hard to achieve high vaccination rates among staff members and the fact that Y&DHS operated its own community vaccination service had helped.

About the aged care vaccination map

The Australian Government Health Department’s Aged Care Vaccination Map, which can be viewed at www.health.gov.au, shows COVID-19 vaccination rates of residential aged care workers by facility across Australia.

The map displays data reported through the My Aged Care Portal, and is updated each weekday by 5pm.

The data does not currently include exemptions under public health orders.

To protect the personal information of individuals:

* A facility’s workforce vaccination rate is displayed within a range (for example 90-100%)

* A band’s width is based on the number of workers at that residential aged care facility

* Larger percentage bands are used when reporting vaccination rates for residential aged care facilities with less than 20 staff

* Data for facilities with fewer than five staff members are not included.