Project host, Tommy Little, clashes with ANFM’s Annie Butler over ‘confusing’ Covid vaccine advice

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Project host Tommy Little criticizes nursing department chief for refusing to say Covid vaccine should be mandatory for all aged care workers

  • Tommy Little clashed with ANMF federal secretary Annie Butler on The Project
  • Ms Butler appeared to discuss the roll-out of the Covid jab in retirement homes
  • She accused the government of giving ‘unclear’ messages about the vaccine
  • Little asked if vaccines should be made mandatory for aged care workers
  • Mrs. Butler gave a vague answer, with Little accusing her of being ‘confusing’

Tommy Little has accused the secretary of the nursing association of promoting ‘confusing’ Covid vaccine advice during a fiery clash on The Sunday Project.

Federal Secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANWF) Annie Butler spoke with the Channel 10 program guest host on Sunday evening to discuss the rollout of the jab for aged care workers.

She claimed the government had confused workers in the sector by spreading “unclear” reports about the vaccine’s rollout.

But when asked whether vaccines should be mandated in aged care, Ms Butler replied: “It’s a question we should keep asking, but right now we can’t mandate something that isn’t readily available and accessible.”

Project host Tommy Little (pictured) has clashed with nursing union secretary over 'confusing' information about Covid vaccine

Project host Tommy Little (pictured) has clashed with nursing union secretary over ‘confusing’ information about Covid vaccine

Little was unimpressed with her response.

“I’m telling you, after saying the government’s communications were confusing, I think yours is, too,” he said.

“Why do you think that’s confusing?” Mrs. Butler fired back.

“If you’re asked if the vaccine should be mandatory and you answer by saying, ‘I think we should keep asking that question,’ don’t you find that a confusing answer?” Little asked.

But Ms Butler reiterated that the union was not in a position to make a decision.

“I just don’t think it’s ready for us to make it mandatory. And as long as we don’t have all the other systems, we can’t make it mandatory for aged care workers.’

Federal Secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANWF) Annie Butler told the program on Sunday that the union “cannot make vaccines mandatory” until “other systems are in place”

On Friday, Scott Morrison announced that the national cabinet had approved the implementation of a vaccine mandate for aged care workers.

“We are relying heavily on this as heads of government and myself as prime minister to see us on the road to mandatory vaccination for aged care workers,” said Mr Morrison.

The statement came after it was revealed that only half of Victoria’s aged care residents had been fully vaccinated as the state struggles with a new coronavirus outbreak, which grew to 85 cases on Sunday.

The Melbourne cluster has infiltrated an Arcare retirement home after the virus spread between staff and residents.

Two of the four new cases registered on Sunday were linked to the Maidstone facility.

Morrison said the government was in consultation with the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) to determine how the mandate would be implemented.

Employees are seen leaving the Arcare Aged Care facility in Maidstone, Melbourne, which is linked to a Covid cluster in Melbourne

Employees are seen leaving the Arcare Aged Care facility in Maidstone, Melbourne, which is linked to a Covid cluster in Melbourne

Employees are seen leaving the Arcare Aged Care facility in Maidstone, Melbourne, which is linked to a Covid cluster in Melbourne

“We have received further advice from the AHPPC meaning that we have instructed the AHPPC to advise us on how to do this safely, including an appropriate time frame for how to achieve that, and we are awaiting such advice.”

However, he said the decision would ultimately rest with the states and territories.

“To make vaccinations mandatory for aged care workers, it must be done through state-level public health regulations, as it is done for flu vaccinations,” he said.

A day earlier, the prime minister made an opposing statement during question time saying the measure was ‘unlikely’.

“(The AHPPC) has not made that recommendation before, and my advice is that it is unlikely to be made mandatory,” he said on Thursday.

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