Tumut Hospital healthcare staff ‘well on the way’ to vaccination

Emma Field, MLHD Covid Coordinator, addressing staff vaccination rates on Wednesday.

Tumut’s public medical staff are ‘well on their way’ to being fully vaccinated, in line with a push from the Murrumbidgee Health District (MLHD) to meet NSW Health guidelines.

Emma Field, the MLHD’s Covid Coordinator, said the district wasn’t experiencing any conflicts with staff over the requirements for vaccination.

“We are required by the 30th of September to have, as a general rule, healthcare workers have their first dose [of a vaccine] and our aged care facilities by the 17th of September,” she said on Wednesday. 

“We’re on track to get that vaccination rate, so we’re happy with progress thus far, but we’re also working very hard with all of our partners to make sure that we can provide vaccinations across the district.”

Those requirements include staff at the Tumut Hospital and associated services which fall under the MLHD.

Tumut Hospital Facility Manager Katrina Walsh said that most staff had already received a Covid-19 vaccination before the announcement.

“I am very proud to say that not only have the majority of staff received their first dose of vaccine, most are already fully vaccinated,” said Ms Walsh.

“As healthcare professionals we already have mandatory vaccination requirements for other infectious diseases to keep us and our patients safe.

“We recognise the importance of vaccination as one of the best defences we have against Covid-19. We can see from the current outbreak in NSW that vaccination is very effective at reducing the risk of serious illness and hospitalisation for people that contract the virus.”

 Ms Walsh also said that most eligible family members and household contacts of the Tumut Hospital staff have also been vaccinated.

“We encourage everyone to consider booking in for a free Covid-19 vaccination and thank everyone who has already had one, or both of their jabs. If you have questions, please talk it over with your GP.”

Ms Field said the MLHD has encountered very few issues with staff getting vaccinations.

“The far majority [of staff] are on board,” said Ms Field, adding that there are medical exemptions for healthcare workers who aren’t physically able to receive a vaccination.

“We certainly have the option for staff who have a genuine medical contraindication, and that’s in line with the public health order. So if someone does have a medical contraindication, there’s a process for that.”

One factor which administrators say helps in the process is the already-existing requirement for all MLHD staff to comply with a vaccine register prior to joining the organisation. Healthcare staff in the MLHD must already have accepted multiple vaccinations before starting work, understanding that a condition of employment with MLHD is vaccination compliance.