CHOICE: Lisa Wiedrich is moving her elderly mother into a granny flat after a new direction from the Queensland Government prohibited her from entering a residential aged care facility without a flu vaccination. Photo: John McCutcheon.
CHOICE: Lisa Wiedrich is moving her elderly mother into a granny flat after a new direction from the Queensland Government prohibited her from entering a residential aged care facility without a flu vaccination. Photo: John McCutcheon.

Daughter pulls mum out of aged care over flu jab lockdown

A COAST woman has chosen to remove her mother from a residential aged care facility after she was stripped of her freedom of choice to vaccinate.

Mapleton resident Lisa Wiedrich, who worked in medical nutrition for 16 years, said she "doesn't understand" a Queensland Government direction which prohibits visitors, aged care staff, health workers, volunteers and anyone else from entering a residential aged care facility if they have not had the 2020 flu vaccine.

Ms Wiedrich said she felt she had no choice but to move her mum out of her home at Estia Health in Twin Waters.

"The flu vaccine has nothing to do with COVID-19 they have just decided now that unless you have a flu vaccine you are not allowed to visit which I find astounding," she said.

"I understand that we need to protect our vulnerable population and mum has always had her flu vaccines for the last 13 years and she is healthy other than her strokes and a little bit of dementia, but I don't understand why it's mandatory.

"There is no vaccine for COVID-19 and people are getting caught up in saying that we need to protect our elderly, but they are linking it to COVID-19 and it's very different."

Having had other shots including the typhoid vaccination Ms Wiedrich said she did consider getting the flu injection.

"I'm not an anti-vaxxer, my argument is about choice and taking away people's choices whether they inject something into their body that they don't necessarily want, that's my point," she said.

"If my mum was happy there and I knew that it was the best place for her to be, not just physically but also emotionally than I would have to reconsider my decision for her wellbeing.

"But I am putting a granny flat in the backyard now which wasn't an option before … and she is more than happy, she cried when I told her what I was doing."

Should people be forced to have the 2020 flu vaccine before entering an aged care home?

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Effective from May 1, the prohibition of entry was a part of several directions given by chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young to assist in containing, or to respond to, the spread of COVID-19 within the community.

An Estia Health spokesman said the aged care facility supported the State Government's directive and had all 7500 staff vaccinated over the last month.

"Each year flu has a significant impact on residents and homes and the government directive on staff and visitors will have a positive impact," he said.

"The direction puts the onus on the operator of a residential aged care facility in Queensland to take all reasonable steps to ensure that a person does not enter or remain on the premises and that if the operator doesn't comply then penalties apply."

The spokesman said the care facility had introduced new communication options for families that don't agree with the directions.

"We have been helping families and friends with other ways of keeping in touch with their loved ones including video calls, if they are unwilling or unable to meet the State Government's entry requirements," he said.


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