• Tony Bosworth

MP Templeman – not good enough that vulnerable and health staff have still not all been vaccinated

This morning it’s been revealed two health workers in the Hawkesbury have tested COVID positive and only one of them was fully vaccinated.

“These positive cases highlight not only the need for a Hawkesbury vaccination hub, but also for in-reach services,” MP Susan Templeman told the Post this morning.

“Aged care workers were expected to be offered vaccinations in their workplace when residents were vaccinated, and most people were stunned that didn’t happen,” Ms Templeman said.

The health worker at Richmond’s Hawkesbury Living care home is fully vaccinated – he is one of 40% of that workforce fully vaccinated - but the nurse with COVID at Hawkesbury Hospital was not vaccinated.

Ms Templeman says the Federal government is to blame for the slow vaccination rates for frontline workers and the vulnerable, including aged care residents, and the lack of a vaccine hub in the Hawkesbury is leading to very poor outcomes for local residents.

“Aged care workers were meant to be vaccinated by Easter,” said Ms Templeman, “but it was a mess from the start.

“And here we are - August. These are the problems. The Prime Minister can say all he likes about how great the vaccine rollout has been and how wonderful it's going to be in the future. But that is no comfort for people who right now are suffering from COVID, are dying from COVID, or are living with the constant anxiety that they might be next.

“Yesterday, neither the NSW Minister for Health nor the Prime Minister would take responsibility for aged care workers – they each said it was the other’s job.

MP Susan Templeman talking to the media this morning at Parliament House

“We urgently need vaccines to come into workplaces and isolated areas to make vaccinations easier to get, and we need local hubs to support the great work GPs and pharmacies are doing.

“Now, I called on this government to extend the opportunities for people to be vaccinated in the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury. We're an area of 4000 square kilometres and we do not have a single hub. We have GPs working their guts out. Working to their capacity. We have pharmacies just starting to come online. But we don't have a hub.

“The place that people have to go to get to a hub if they want to be vaccinated is Homebush, travelling through hotspots into another hotspot.

“It isn't good enough to say that the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury don't deserve a hub, yet this week, the Minister for Foreign Affairs accused me of undermining the vaccine rollout by calling for more opportunities for people to get vaccinated.

“Now this sort of petty politics is going to be the thing that undermines confidence in the rollout. We have people in the Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains pleading to be vaccinated.

“Pregnant women, breastfeeding women, we have men who want to get back to work. We've got teachers, there are more teachers per head of population in my electorate than anywhere in the country. They want to be vaccinated, yet we don't have a single hub, let alone a place for our Year 12 students to go.

So it isn't good enough for the government to throw around allegations of political game playing when quite frankly, they're the one playing games, spinning it and denying people in the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury the opportunity they want, and that is to get vaccinated.

“I also want to stress that in the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury, the incursions have been responded to magnificently by my community members; whenever we've had a threat of COVID, people have got tested, they've isolated.”

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