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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Aged care home and community care staff encouraged to get vaccinated

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Aged care staff working in home care and community services are encouraged to get their COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as possible to ensure increased protection for the vulnerable older Australians for whom they care.

There has been an overwhelmingly positive response to the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations for the 156,000 workers in the Home Care and Commonwealth Home Support programs, with more than 84 per cent having received a first dose and 73 per cent their second dose nationwide, already.

LASA CEO, Sean Rooney said his organisation is proud to see its home and community care workforce “step up to show that they’re #ProudToProtect the older people they care for”.

“Providers have responded well to the Staff Vaccination Support Service (SVSS) campaign run jointly by aged services provider representatives LASA and ACSA to provide information and support to help encourage workers to get vaccinated during the rollout,” Rooney said.

There are especially high rates of vaccination among these workers in NSW (95 per cent), Victoria (96 per cent) and the ACT (98 per cent), where the first dose deadline has already passed.

The remainder may have exemptions, but exemption reporting is only beginning this week.

The deadline for the second dose for staff in Victoria is November 26, while in NSW and the ACT it is November 29.

ACSA CEO Paul Sadler said the positive response by staff means that aged services providers will be better placed to manage the move towards living with COVID-19 in the community.

“It means peace of mind for the people receiving support in their home, or working in age services, and of course for their loved ones,” Sadler said.

“With increasing freedom comes the responsibility that we do everything possible to ensure that we can provide the best care and quality support services to older people.”

The mandated first dose deadline is approaching for home and community care workers in Queensland (Nov 24), South Australia and Tasmania (both Nov 30) and in Western Australia (Dec 1).

Second dose deadlines are Queensland (Dec 15), Tasmania (Dec 31), WA (Jan 1) and SA (within ATAGI recommend period depending on which first dose vaccine was given).

“This follows the success of the vaccination of residential aged care staff, where the rollout of booster shots for aged care residents and staff who had their second dose over six months ago has now commenced,” Rooney said.

“The SVSS will be working with providers with lower vaccination rates to support them with strategies to increase uptake, as we did with residential aged care providers in September.”

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