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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Vaccine rollout update for residential aged care workers, facilities and providers

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More than 98 per cent of residential aged care workers are reported as having received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 80 per cent of workers fully vaccinated.

The department of health says this ‘outstanding result’ is testament to both the incredible work of providers and facilities in supporting their workers to safely and easily receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and to every worker’s commitment to protect themselves, their families and the people in their care.

Weekly reporting due tomorrow

Any updates to vaccination and exemption data for residential aged care facilities must be reported via the My Aged Care portal tomorrow, Tuesday, September, 21.

The accurate and timely reporting of data is critical to ensuring compliance with a state or territory’s public health order.

Data entered into the My Aged Care portal will be used by the Department to monitor compliance of providers and facilities.

How to account for staff working across multiple outlets, sites or services.

Providers with multiple My Aged Care outlets co-located at one residential aged care site operating as one facility are requested to use one outlet ID for reporting their worker and resident vaccination information in My Aged Care.

If you operate multiple My Aged Care outlets from one site, but the facility operates substantially as one, the Department requests that you please choose one outlet ID to report against, and report “zero” against the other co-located IDs.

Do not duplicate your reported information for each co-located outlet.

Conversely, where possible, it is requested that you do not split your workers and residents across the co-located outlet IDs, unless the sites are operating completely independently, as different facilities.

Recording all workers and residents against a single outlet ID will ensure the department has an accurate view of vaccine need and ensure that public reporting of vaccination rates is accurate.

What to do if a worker’s COVID-19 vaccination status is not showing on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR)?

If a worker has received their COVID-19 vaccination but it is not yet showing on their immunisation history statement, it may be because the vaccine provider has not uploaded the person’s vaccination record to the AIR.

As a first step, providers and facilities can call the AIR on 1800 653 809 (8am-5pm, Monday to Friday AEST) and Human Services will prioritise update of the worker’s vaccination record.

If your workforce was vaccinated on site by a Commonwealth vaccine provider, and a worker’s vaccination status is not yet appearing on their immunisation history statement, it is requested that you please contact the vaccine provider directly.

You will need to provide the individual’s full name, Medicare number and date of vaccination at your facility.

If a worker was vaccinated at an alternate site, such as a GP or state and territory run clinic, providers should assist their workers in contacting the vaccine provider and requesting the vaccination record be uploaded to their immunisation history statement.

Mandatory vaccination is now in effect – what next?

The focus of the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirement will now shift to completion of second doses for all residential aged care workers and monitoring and compliance aligned with the public health orders.

Ensure your workers receive their second dose vaccination

All providers and facility managers and IPC leads are responsible for ensuring their workforce have access to and receive a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the deadlines as provided in respective public health orders.

All facilities which received a first dose in-reach clinic for workers, delivered by Commonwealth vaccine providers, primary care providers or aged care providers, will receive a second dose clinic for workers onsite.

Commonwealth vaccine hubs will continue to operate to provide second dose clinics for workers and these details will be provided directly to facilities.

All other vaccination channels remain available for priority access for residential aged care workers to receive their second dose vaccination, including primary care clinics, pharmacies, Commonwealth vaccination clinics and state and territory run mass vaccination clinics.

Monitoring and compliance activity begins on Wednesday

Using My Aged Care data, the Department will work with providers and facilities to understand if there are any unvaccinated workers and where there may be exemptions that apply.

From Wednesday this week, the Department will review the data reported tomorrow and contact facilities directly to:

  • ensure continuity of resident care standards as a priority
  • understand the reasons for any non-medical exemptions or unvaccinated workers
  • provide advice on the availability and access to a vaccine for unvaccinated workers
  • provide advice on exemption requirements for the relevant state or territory public health order, and
  • ensure exemptions have been reported correctly in the My Aged Care provider portal.

Providers have clear obligations under the public health orders to ensure accurate workforce vaccination reporting and record keeping processes are in place.

If contacted, facilities will be required to advise the Department of their strategy for addressing non-medical exemptions and increasing vaccination rates, including a plan to ensure all current workers not yet vaccinated receive a minimum first dose COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

Your strategy should consider overall vaccination rates at your facility, roles undertaken by unvaccinated workers, the transmission risk in your local area and other measures in place to prepare and manage the risk of COVID-19.

“Goodbye COVID” videos for diverse communities

A series of vaccination videos in 20 languages including Arabic, Cantonese, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Mandarin and Vietnamese are available for use across the residential aged care sector.

The videos were produced by North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) in Victoria.

The “Goodbye COVID” videos feature more than 60 volunteers from culturally and linguistically diverse communities speaking in their own language on why they’re getting vaccinated.

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