Since news of the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccines, representatives of the United Workers Union have been in regular contact with Federal, State and Territory governments to ensure our front-line members, like those working in Ambulance, are part of the dialogue. As the AEAV is part of one of the biggest union’s in the country and is the biggest union for ambulance employees your voice is heard on this issue.
At an initial meeting with the Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt on 13 January 2021, UWU, along with the Australian Nurses and Midwifery Federation and other health unions identified many questions about the approval process, the efficacy of the vaccine, and of the roll out that AEAV members require answers to.
Since then, your union has had a detailed technical briefing with the Chief Medical Officer at a federal level and continuing to be involved in discussions with Department of Health officials in each state and territory as the roll out commenced this week.
Some of the information regarding this is available on the UWU website. https://www.unitedworkers.org.au/vaccine/. The landscape is changing day to day and any updates will be provided via this link.
You will see that there are references to “ambulance subgroups” being part of group 1a. While where possible all Ambulance employees will be part of group 1a, priority is being given to those who work in the areas responsible for responding to hotel quarantine or international border entry as these have been identified as high-risk areas.
The roll out of the vaccine is being managed by the Federal Government and state Departments of Health are working to operationalise this happening. Ambulance services are part of this picture but are not in control of dictating the priority areas.
The limitations around transporting the Pfizer vaccine also pose logistical issues for Ambulance members in more remote areas of Australia. These issues are being worked through with each state jurisdictional service.
All ambulance staff should be prepared that while there are no mandatory directives around the vaccine in the broader community, PPE will continue to be part of business as usual.
If you have specific questions which are unable to be answered from the information contained at https://www.unitedworkers.org.au/vaccine/ please don’t hesitate to contact the AEAV office at 03 9287 1713 or [email protected]