Unions request PM meeting on jab rollout

ACTU Secretary Sally McManus wants a meeting with Scott Morrison about the COVID vaccination rollout
ACTU Secretary Sally McManus wants a meeting with Scott Morrison about the COVID vaccination rollout

Unions have requested an urgent meeting with the prime minister to address the vaccine rollout in aged and disability care.

Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus has lodged a written request for a meeting with Scott Morrison, Health Minister Greg Hunt and Disability Minister Linda Reynolds.

Ms McManus wants the national rollout recalibrated to ensure workers and the vulnerable Australians they support are better protected.

Unions want frontline workers vaccinated as soon as possible.

"We are concerned that nearly two months after the commencement of the program very few aged care and nearly no disability care workers have been offered their first vaccination," Ms McManus said.

The unions are also concerned about documented failures of private companies contracted by the federal government to deliver the rollout.

"This leaves unions with little confidence these workers, as well as the people in their care, will be vaccinated before the onset of winter," Ms McManus said.

Unions want greater transparency in relation to the number of aged and disability care workers vaccinated each day.

They also want a clearer understanding of the performance of private contractors, and how much they are being paid to administer vaccines.

Ms McManus has asked for an explanation of how updated advice on the use of AstraZeneca vaccines will affect the rollout, and an assurance Pfizer jabs will be given to as many workers under 50 as possible.

She has also requested an urgent boost to resourcing for the states to get the national program back on track.

The letter also raises concerns around logistical flaws affecting the rollout in the aged and disability sectors as well as the handling of vaccine hesitancy and immune response reactions.

"These are important issues that need to be handled appropriately," Ms McManus said.

"The government should be providing clear guidance to the sector on the vaccination program and these matters specifically."

Australian Associated Press