No jab, no aged care visits rule attacked
A PROPOSED rule change that would make flu vaccination mandatory for anyone entering an aged care facility after May 1 is a sensible precaution says a Grafton pharmacist.
Michael Troy, who was part of the successful lobbying to allow pharmacists to administer flu shots in NSW, said the step was a simple and effective step to improve community health.
"It's pretty much the same idea as the "no jab/no play rule they brought in for child care centres," he said.
"It's a quick and minimally invasive procedure. You can go to a pharmacy, sign a few forms and in 20 minutes you're on your way."
He said the benefits for individual and community health far outweighed the minimal health risks and the erosion of civil liberties.
"I agree that for people who don't want to be vaccinated they're between a rock and a hard place," he said.
"But you have to remember you're talking about aged and frail people who are among the most vulnerable people in the community."
Waterview Heights resident Lesley Turner is one person who know how this feels.
At 71 she does not want to have a vaccination to visit her 95-year-old mother in a nursing home.
"I've never had a flu vaccination and neither has mum and we don't want to start now," she said.
"I'm not against vaccination for children, but I don't see why I need to have one."
She said she would always put her mother's health first.
"I love my mum," she said. "Why would I do anything to hurt her? I would never go to see her if I was feeling sick."
Mrs Turner said the new rules could not protect aged care residents from getting the flu outside the home.
"They take groups of residents out shopping, where they could get the flu," she said.
"I can go to a hospital and visit without needing to be vaccinated. How is this consistent?"
Mrs Turner said the proposed rules would be an infringement of hers and her mother's rights without giving the protections they promised.
She said she could understand if this regulation was in force for the period of the COVID-19 crisis and then dropped.
"Once this comes in, that's it," she said. "It's here for good."