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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

SA Health provides information for RACFs on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination

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From September 17, 2021, all residential aged care facility (RACF) staff, contractors and volunteers are required to have received at least one dose of a TGA approved COVID-19 vaccine and have evidence of a booking to receive, or have received, a second dose.

The Information for Residential Aged Care Facilities fact sheet has been updated to cover some of the more specific questions that have been raised by the sector over the past week.

Who is mandated?

The requirement to receive a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination applies to people who are employed or engaged by or on behalf of a RACF (whether as an employee, contractor or agency staff) to work or perform duties at a premises of a RACF on a full time, part time or casual basis, including:

  • Direct care workers (nurses; personal care workers; allied health professionals; and allied health assistants)
  • Administration staff (reception; management; administration)
  • Ancillary staff (food preparation; cleaning; laundry; garden; maintenance)
  • Lifestyle / social care (music/art therapy)
  • Transport drivers of residents of RACF
  • Volunteers engaged by a RACF to undertake duties at a RACF
  • Students on placement at a RACF; and
  • Medical practitioners and allied health professionals who attend and provide care to residents of a RACF whether employed or engaged by the resident, RACF or another person.

Note: Under the South Australian RACF Emergency Management Direction, allied health professionals such as occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech language pathologists, etc. are mandated to receive COVID-19 vaccination, whether employed or engaged by the resident, RACF or another person.

Who is not mandated?

Some people who must enter a RACF to provide a service, are not mandated to receive a COVID-19 vaccination under the RACF Emergency Management Direction, however COVID-19 vaccination is strongly encouraged for anyone entering a RACF. The following people are not included in this Direction:

  • In-reach services including AN-ACC/ACAT/RAS assessors, Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission field staff, Aged Care Advocates delivering the National Aged Care Advocacy Program (Older Persons Advocacy Network Members), trade union officials.
  • Emergency services staff, including SA Ambulance Officers undertaking resident transport to/from hospital or providing treatment in a RACF.
  • Contractors such as trades people, delivery drivers, hairdressers, librarians, solicitors, pastoral care workers / clergy.
  • Volunteers who are not engaged by a RACF, for example community visitors providing companionship to a resident at the request of the resident.
  • Family and friends of the resident.

What exemptions are in place and how are they granted?

In a limited number of circumstances, exemptions to the requirement for mandatory COVID-19 vaccination may apply.

Requests for temporary exemptions (not medical grounds or pregnancy) must be made in writing to the Department for Health and Wellbeing by email to officeforageingwell@sa.gov.au. Requests should include contact details and any information relevant to the request.

Where can RACF workforce receive vaccination?

The residential aged care staff vaccination FAQ provides additional information regarding COVID-19 vaccination.

RACF staff, contractors and volunteers can receive their COVID-19 vaccine at any of the South Australian vaccination sites.

In addition, vaccination clinics and/or places for RACF staff, contractors and volunteers have been set up, including:

  • Highgate Park COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic
  • Enfield COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic
  • Medindie COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic
  • North Brighton COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic
  • Pooraka Northern Vaccination Centre

Further information about COVID-19 and aged care is available on the SA Health website.

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