Health Minister Greg Hunt’s claim that 100 per cent of aged care residents have been vaccinated appears to be in tatters after one woman said her grandmother’s facility has not even administered the first jab.
Mr Hunt initially said that 100 per cent of Victorian residential aged care facilities have been vaccinated, however, he later backtracked, saying a “lack of uptake was down to residents refusing the jab.”
Now, in a startling new interview with The Project, Kate Howard says her family has been desperate for her 95-year-old grandmother to be vaccinated for months and that no one in the aged-care facility where she lives has even received the first dose of the vaccine.
“She, like the rest of our family, is incredibly keen and we have been keen since the phase 1A rollout was announced in February and we’ve done all that we can to try and make sure she is vaccinated,” said Ms Howard told host Carrie Bickmore.
“We have been emailing since the start of March to try and get some understanding about who’s responsible and, you know, I’m over the politicking of this – I just want my grandmother vaccinated.”
Ms Howard said on the program that no residents in the home had yet been vaccinated, “despite all of us giving consent”.
Ms Howard explained her family had signed consent for her grandmother’s vaccination on March 22, calling out Mr Hunt’s claims last week that about 97 per cent of aged care facilities across the country have been vaccinated so far.
He said on Monday that vaccinations in aged care facilities were being brought forward “for those residents who did not receive first vaccinations, did not have consent of their families or provide it themselves”.
She said her family was “incredibly anxious” and “doing all we can”, and demanded Porofessor Michael Kidd, who on Monday also urged Victorians to get vaccinated, “show that you care about my grandmother and start acting and getting these people vaccinated”.
Project host Waleed Aly interjected: “You said something that could potentially be a big story, if I’ve got this right – you are saying in your grandmother’s home no-one has been vaccinated?”
“No, they’ve not received one jab yet. They’ve not had one vaccination yet. They’re waiting on their first dose.
“I believe less than half of the aged care workers have, off their own bat, gone and got vaccinations but the others are still remaining,” added Ms Howard.
When asked whether the details were recent and “as of today”, Ms Howard replied her information was received on Monday afternoon after being in touch with her grandmother’s home.
Aly described the revelations as “extraordinary”.
Bickmore expressed her anger that the vaccine rollout to those in aged care facilities had no happened quicker.
“This makes me so angry,” she said.
“We’ve got family in aged care as well waiting for their second doses and it’s taking far too long,” she said. “Especially given what we saw happen last year.”
The shock revelation came as three of Monday’s five new local infections were linked to the aged care sector.
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said one was the son of the first case in aged care – reported on Sunday – at the Arcare Maidstone facility.
Another case was a staff member at the same nursing home – the woman, who was not vaccinated, worked alongside the initial case.
Mr Foley said the third case was a resident at the Arcare Maidstone home. She was a woman in her 90s, asymptomatic and had been transferred to hospital.
It means two staff members and one resident have contracted coronavirus at Arcare Maidstone overall, while it was also revealed on Monday another worker at the BlueCross Western Gardens nursing home in Sunshine tested positive on Sunday night.
Two other Royal Freemasons sites were also on high alert after two workers – one from Coppin Centre and the other from Royal Freemasons Footscray – worked at the Arcare Maidstone facility in the past week.
There are growing fears the emergence of the so-called “mystery cases” could mean Victoria’s lockdown will extend well past the Thursday deadline.
Epidemiologist Professor Mary Louise McLaws told the ABC she didn’t believe the state would be free by Friday as planned.
“We have a very high, very rapid increase over a short period of time,” she told the broadcaster. “I know this lockdown costs a billion a week and that would make the authorities very anxious about extending it but … it has to go certainly for 14 days.”