Australia reconsiders mandatory vaccines for aged care workers after Melbourne's COVID-19 outbreak
The Australian government is reconsidering making coronavirus vaccines mandatory for aged care workers.
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) ruled in January that COVID-19 vaccines would not be made compulsory for people working in residential aged care facilities.
However, with Victoria, the country's second-most populous state, thrust back into lockdown after a cluster of COVID-19 cases emerged in state capital Melbourne, federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced that he has asked the panel to reconsider.
"So in terms of mandatory, what we are doing is we are referring that question again to the medical expert panel of state chief health officers and Commonwealth officials," he told reporters in Canberra on Monday afternoon.
"It had previously been discussed, but for the medical reasons and the view of that group had not advised in favor of it."
It came after an outbreak at the Arcare aged care home in the northwest Melbourne suburb of Maidstone.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd said the new advice would be presented to the national cabinet, which consists of the prime minister and state and territory leaders.
"So, that's work that's underway at the moment," he said.
"We expect that will be also considered by the national cabinet later this week."
As of Monday afternoon, there had been 30,106 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and the numbers of locally and overseas acquired cases in the last 24 hours were four and two respectively, with two extra cases under investigation, according to the latest figures updated on Monday evening from the Department of Health.
There were about 110 active cases nationwide and the number of locally acquired cases in the last seven days was 35.