Vaccination rates among residential aged care workers are steadily rising as the September deadline for mandatory vaccination approaches and the number of vaccination clinics and hubs increase.
Nationally as at August 18, of the total 278,268 residential aged care workers reported to date by providers, 187,102 have received a first dose COVID-19 vaccine (67 per cent) and 128,031 have had a second dose (46 per cent). The Federal Government has expressed its gratitude to all workers who are now protected against COVID-19.
New video to support workers released
On Monday, the federal health department issued an information kit for aged care facility operators to adapt and use to address vaccine hesitancy among their workforce and to promote ways for them to get vaccinated as quickly and safely as possible.
As part of the campaign, a new video is now available (below) starring vaccinated aged care staff.
Public health orders updated
Public health orders on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination have now been released by Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland.
You can view the public health orders here on the Department’s new webpage on mandatory vaccination.
Victoria’s Department of Health has notified providers they need to ensure workers are vaccinated by Thursday, September 16.
The scope of mandatory vaccination for Victorian workers is expected to adhere to the framework endorsed by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee earlier this month.
All providers, IPC leads and facility managers should monitor relevant jurisdictional health websites for information on the orders and supporting explanatory information.
Helping workers access a COVID-19 vaccine
The Department of Health is working with each residential aged care facility to ensure residential aged care worker can access a COVID-19 vaccination prior to September 17.
There are a range of mechanisms available to support residential aged care workers to access vaccine.
All residential aged care workers, irrespective of their age, are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
The Department of Health is working with each residential aged care facility to ensure plans are in place, and to provide support where needed, to ensure every residential aged care worker has access to a COVID-19 vaccination prior to September 17.
Every residential aged care facility is being offered an on-site vaccination clinics for workers and residents not yet vaccinated.
These clinics are being delivered by residential aged care providers, GPs and Commonwealth vaccine providers.
State and territory clinics and primary care clinics, including general practices, Commonwealth vaccination clinics (GP respiratory clinics), Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and pharmacies, are also prioritising residential aged care workers.
Residential aged care workers need only identify themselves to these clinics to receive an appointment within seven days.
Workers can also refer to the eligibility checker at Health.gov.au for available clinics or call the dedicated COVID-19 Vaccine Helpline on 1800 020 080 (select option 4) for any questions about vaccination or for help to book a vaccination appointment.
Priority access for residential aged care workers
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
Residential aged care workers have priority access at ACT Vaccination clinics.
Book your appointment by calling the booking line on 02 5124 7700 (7am to 7pm daily).
Identify yourself as an aged care worker. You’ll be asked to confirm your employment to be prioritised for an appointment.
All residential aged care workers are eligible for priority access, including those without a Medicare card and those who hold an immigration visa.
Residential aged care workers are able to walk in to any Queensland Health (QH) vaccination location to be vaccinated.
If unable to be accommodated for Pfizer vaccination on the day they walk in to a QH vaccination location, they will be booked for the next available appointment.
Find your nearest QH vaccination location.
Victorian-run COVID-19 vaccination clinics are also prioritising residential aged care workers, including volunteers engaged by facilities and students on placement.
You do not need a Medicare card to book an appointment or receive a vaccine.
Victorian residential aged care workers can book an appointment at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/book-your-vaccine-appointment or by calling the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 (for priority access appointments).
They can also call the COVID-19 Vaccine Helpline on 1800 020 080 (select option 4). The dedicated COVID-19 Vaccine Helpline can answer any questions you may have about vaccination and can help you book a vaccination appointment.
New South Wales
NSW Health is providing priority appointments up to 22 August for residential aged care workers.
Bookings can be made and details found on the NSW Health website.
The priority appointments are available for workers in the following local government areas and suburbs:
Local government areas of concern
- Georges River
- Claremont Meadows
- Erskine Park
- Kemps Creek
- Mount Vernon
- North St Marys
- Orchard Hills
- Oxley Park
- St Clair
- St Marys
Up to date data is vital
If your facility has an on-site clinic or organises for a number of workers to be vaccinated off-site in between reporting periods (every Tuesday), please submit your updated data on workforce vaccination as soon as possible.
This ensures we have the most up to date data on worker vaccination levels.
We strongly encourage all workers to notify your employer if you receive a COVID-19 vaccination through a clinic not organised through your facility.
This is critical as part of COVID-19 planning and preparation in the event of an outbreak and it helps us ensure that every worker has access to a vaccine before September 17.
New recruiting campaign for care and support sector
The Australian Government has launched a new campaign — A Life Changing Life.
The campaign aims to generate interest in the care and support sector, which includes aged care, disability and veterans’ support.
The campaign will prompt students, job searchers and professionals who have the qualities and skills the sector needs to take action and consider a job or career in care and support.
You may hear and see the campaign online, on television, social media, radio and in channels around your community.
The campaign was developed by the Department of Social Services, in collaboration with the Department of Health and Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
It is informed by research with potential workers, current care and support workers, employers and stakeholders, and people with disability, older people and veterans.
Click here to check out the campaign, download a kit and for more information.