Aged care vaccine mandate ‘unlikely’: PM

Vaccines are “unlikely” to be made mandatory for aged care workers, but the decision will be based on medical advice, the Prime Minister says.

Calls to mandate vaccinations for aged workers have been heightened during the Victorian Covid outbreak after two employee at Melbourne Arcare centre tested positive to the virus.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) in January recommended against mandating vaccinations for aged care workers but was reviewing the decision this week.

Mr Morrison confirmed the matter would be discussed at a national cabinet meeting on Friday but played down the likelihood of a change.

“(The AHPPC) have not made that recommendation previously, and my advice is that it is unlikely to be made mandatory,” he told question time on Thursday.

RELATED: Four Melbourne aged care homes exposed to Covid-19 after three workers and one resident test positive

“There are many methods we can employ to lift the level of vaccination in these occupations. We have increased the point of contact, where they can have those vaccinations, in partnership with states and territories.”

The comments come after an Arcare worker claimed they were told to come into work despite an order from authorities to isolate after receiving a Covid-19 test.

The facility has denied the allegation.

Labor frontbencher Terri Butler accused the government of “bungling” the aged care vaccination rollout.

“At one facility in my electorate, half the residents have been fully vaccinated and half have not received their first dose?” she claimed.

Mr Morrison rejected the premise of the question, accusing Labor of “undermining” the rollout effort.

“We will keep fighting the virus and Labor will keep fighting us. Australians want us to focus our attention on them, not fighting the Labor Party,” he said.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said more than 99 per cent of aged care centres across Australia had received their first vaccine dose and 156,000 of 185,000 residents.

Mr Hunt said he would have to seek details on the centre referred to by Ms Butler, whom he accused of deliberately withholding information in her question.

“They could have been provided but there was a decision not to provide those details,” he said.

Earlier, LNP MP George Christensen raised eyebrows by referring to the “McCormack-Morrison government” when asking a question on support for regional Australia.

“It’s the Morrison-McCormack government,” Speaker Tony Smith corrected him.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack agreed with the speaker’s intervention, quipping: “Long may that be the case.”

“Not if Barnaby has anything to do with it!” yelled one Labor MP in reference to former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce.

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