Media Statement

4 October 2021


In vulnerable communities, particularly the frail elderly, the impact of COVID-19 has been extreme. As an organisation providing care and support services to older people through residential care and home care and community services, the Board and Executive of Uniting AgeWell strongly believe it is essential for all people who are medically able, to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Uniting AgeWell is proud to report that 98.4 per cent of all Uniting AgeWell staff have already had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination and 81.6 per cent of all staff are now fully vaccinated. We thank all vaccinated staff for protecting our residents, clients and staff, and for making the broader community a safer place. Our target has always been to get to 100 per cent full vaccination – and we are well on the way.

To ensure the safety of residents, clients and staff, the Uniting AgeWell Board has decided to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for all staff, volunteers and external contractors, irrespective of their role, except where evidence of a valid medical exemption is provided.

This means that all Uniting AgeWell staff, volunteers and contractors that don’t work on a residential care site:

  • Must have had their first dose of COVID-19 vaccination and have provided evidence by
    15 October 2021
  • Must be fully vaccinated and have provided evidence by 30 November 2021

As advised previously, staff, volunteers and contractors that do work on a residential care site

  • Must have had their first dose of COVID-19 vaccination and have provided evidence by
    16 September 2021
  • Must be fully vaccinated and have provided evidence by 15 November 2021

This decision was ratified by the Uniting AgeWell Board at its meeting on 28 September 2021 and aligns with the existing Australian Government mandate for residential aged care staff to be vaccinated and the Victorian Government’s recent announcement that essential workers must be vaccinated.

Vaccination is the only way out of this pandemic and the overwhelming majority of Uniting AgeWell staff, whether they work in residential care, home care or corporate services, have embraced the opportunity to get vaccinated.

Throughout the past 18 months, we have worked tirelessly to keep our residents and clients and each other safe. It’s been an extremely difficult time, particularly for our residents and clients who have been subject to many months of visitor restrictions, and also for our staff.

It’s important that everyone contributes to the safety of the most vulnerable in our community and vaccination is key.

We accept that not everyone is able to or wants to be vaccinated and this decision will result in a loss of staff, volunteers or contractors opting not to work with Uniting AgeWell. However, as an aged care provider committed to the health, safety and wellbeing of those in our care, we believe it is untenable for people working in aged care to remain unvaccinated. By mandating vaccinations, we are making our expectations very clear.

We urge everyone in the community to get vaccinated as an absolute priority.

Uniting AgeWell will be in contact with those members of staff and volunteers who are yet to be vaccinated or to provide evidence of vaccination or medical exemption within the above timelines, and will liaise directly with external contractors over the coming days.

Andrew Kinnersly
Chief Executive Officer
Uniting AgeWell


Media enquiries to Rebecca Ryan [email protected] or 0401 850 288.

Further information on Uniting AgeWell’s response to COVID-19 is available at:

About Uniting AgeWell

Uniting AgeWell is an organisation of the Uniting Church in Australia with a long tradition of providing quality aged care services for older Australians. With services available throughout metropolitan and regional Victoria and Tasmania, Uniting AgeWell offers a range of specialised options to support health and wellbeing including independent and assisted living, home care, social support and therapy programs, respite and residential care communities.

Uniting AgeWell Preston Community opened in November 2019. It is a 104-bed residential care facility across three levels. It is currently home to 56 residents, supported by 127 staff.