COVID-19 Select Committee ignoring nursing in vaccine rollout

The Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 cannot be effective as they have overlooked inviting the most influential profession to the delivery of a successful vaccine rollout, according to the Australian College of Nursing (ACN).

Without hearing the nursing profession share their concerns and ideas, the Committee is missing a real opportunity to offer solutions to the challenges of Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Australian College of Nursing Chief Executive Officer, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN, said the Committee should be directly engaging with the role of nurses in the rollout, particularly given that nursing is responsibly for the vast majority of immunisation in the community.

“Immunisations in Australia are mostly delivered by nurses. Nurse immunisers are responsible for supporting the bulk of our community in vaccination, but there’s been no consideration of using already effective vaccine delivery systems.”

Adjunct Professor Ward said the committee was quick to be critical of the Federal Government’s current plans but was not examining alternative models for rolling out the vaccine program.

“We already have a solution for mass vaccination in Australia which is not being examined. School vaccination programs deliver thousands of vaccines in mass-delivery setups every year; this is a model which can and should be examined by the Senate Select Committee as an alternate to current suggestions,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.

Adjunct Professor Ward also criticised the Senate Select Committee for focusing on the voice of doctors while not taking on similar advice and support from the nursing profession.

“Nurses have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic but have had very little opportunity to feed back into the COVID-19 Select Committee,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.

“Given nurses are both supporting those who are unwell due to COVID-19, as well as underpinning the health system under this additional strain, it is extremely disappointing that the Committee hasn’t continuously engaged nursing in the same way as doctors, and we welcome the opportunity to be engaged.”

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