The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) has today called on the Government to support the nursing profession in delivering COVID-19 vaccines in residential aged care facilities and residential disability facilities.
ACN CEO Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN welcomed the Government announcement of the next phase of Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination program but said the program failed to include support for nurses.
“For the past two years, nurses have worked at the frontline of our health and aged care systems to protect Australians and support our COVID-19 vaccination rollout efforts,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.
“However, the new incentive payment announced by Government to support general practices and community pharmacies to administer COVID-19 vaccines to local aged care facilities and residential disability facilities does not extend sufficiently to the nursing profession.
“I am disappointed that once again the Government has overlooked the significant support the nursing profession has, and continues to provide, to the nation’s vaccination effort.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses demonstrated our adaptability to quickly and efficiently lead a vaccine rollout across the country. In many circumstances, my colleagues worked long shifts in extreme
weather to vaccinate our most vulnerable.
“The nation knows nurses have been leaders in the national vaccination strategy for decades. From schools, to councils, to RACF’S as we protect and serve throughout the lifespan, so why inhibit us now?
“Nurses are also highly trusted in our local communities and provide evidence-based advice to alleviate any concerns about the immunisation process or effects.
“The Government’s Strengthening Medicare Report recommended a greater role for nurses in primary care, but talk is not action.
“Our message is clear, I encourage the Government to act on its vision of a person-centred care system and expand the eligibility of the COVID-19 vaccination incentive payment to nurses that support the health and wellbeing of residents in aged care and disability settings.