UPDATED 15th April 2021
Dear staff member
Today is a day to celebrate! The first vaccinations of our nursing home residents are happening today and the hostel residents will have their vaccinations on Saturday. The Pfizer vaccine is being given to residents. After all the worry and anxiety that we have experienced, in trying to prevent an outbreak of Covid, the vaccination of residents gives us some real peace of mind.
Thank you for your perseverance and devotion over the last year. We have all done really well to get through to this point! Today is a day when we should stop and smell the roses, when we should pause to appreciate just how far we have come.
The story so far about the vaccination of staff
Firstly, we expected that the Commonwealth government was going to coordinate a voluntary staff vaccination process, onsite at OLOC, using the Pfizer vaccine.
Then, for reasons we still don’t fully understand, this onsite Pfizer vaccination roll out did not happen and instead the government encouraged staff to be vaccinated at local GP clinics that have been using the Astra Zeneca vaccine.
Over a few months, concerns arose overseas about the potential for a very rare but dangerous clotting side effect of the Astra Zeneca vaccine in younger people and eventually those concerns also arose in Australia.
The vaccination process in Australia is being closely monitored by a panel of health experts and the government has made a commitment to follow their advice. Last week this group issued advice which complicated the government’s vaccine rollout plans. The advice was as follows:
- People under the age of 50 are advised to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
It is not clear yet how this vaccine will be made available to aged care staff under the age of 50 but it might be done through local Covid hubs at major hospitals. I expect we will have more information in the next week.
- The Astra Zeneca vaccine is safe for people over the age of 50.
If you are 50 or older it is important to understand that the Astra Zeneca vaccine is easily available to aged care staff through participating GP clinics. In addition, big vaccination centres (vaccination hubs) will be set up soon in places like Sydney’s Olympic stadium.
Of course, if you have any general questions about vaccines or specific questions related to vaccines in the light of your own health status, you need to consult with your GP. The Commonwealth Health Department now has a webpage calledCovid-19 vaccines – Is it true?
Christmas in July celebration
To celebrate getting through Covid, we have been planning to have a big staff Christmas in July party. However, those plans have been complicated by the fact that the roll out of the vaccination of aged care staff has been slower and more complicated than we expected. In Australia we are isolated from the Covid outbreaks happening around the world, but the risk of Covid has not disappeared, so we will monitor developments and review our staff party plans over the next month.
If I can end where I started, please take a moment today to celebrate how far we have come, and that our residents are receiving their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine over the next few days.
If you have any questions please raise them with your supervisor or you can ring Jenny Fahy on 9832 5418.
Chief Executive Officer
15 April 2021