Residential aged care residents and workers are among the first people in Australia to be offered a COVID-19 vaccine.

As a residential aged care service provider, you have an important role in ensuring a safe roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines to the community.

You are required to:

  • prepare your facility, staff and residents for vaccination day
  • obtain and record residents’ consent
  • monitor and report adverse events
  • provide information to your residents and workers.

A range of resources are available to assist residential aged care facilities, workers and residents prepare for the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines to aged care facilities.

Prepare your facility, workers and residents for vaccination day

The following resources are available to help you plan and prepare for COVID-19 vaccination in your facility:

  • Planning checklist for vaccination day – a checklist for residential aged care facilities to work through in preparing for the vaccination clinic. This covers:
    • planning
    • logistics
    • staffing
    • communication
    • consent
    • supporting residents on the day
    • GPs and allied health.
  • Clinical governance requirements – steps out the roles and responsibilities of the residential aged care facility and the vaccine workforce, in planning and preparing for the clinic, on the day of the clinic, and after the clinic.
  • Consent in the residential aged care context – sets out considerations for consent in the residential aged care context, including:
    • supported decision-making and substitute decision-makers
    • links to the consent form
    • information that has been developed for all Australians.
  • Consent process flow chart – sets out the consent pathways and the assessment of residents’ clinical suitability for the vaccine, ahead of time and on the day.
  • Site readiness checklist – a checklist for the physical clinic set up.
  • What to expect on vaccination day – an information sheet for residents, families and carers outlining what to expect in the lead up to, and on the vaccination day.
  • Triage process and scenario mapping for residential aged care facilities – guidance for residential aged care facilities to navigate and manage various scenarios that may arise during the COVID-19 vaccine program rollout.

Obtain and record resident consent

As with all other vaccines, informed consent is required for each COVID-19 vaccine dose. Residential aged care providers are responsible for this process which must be completed ahead of the vaccination day.

Guidance on consent in the residential aged care context can assist with this process.

How does my facility capture consent?

There are two ways to capture consent:

  • written consent: you can use the Australian Government’s written consent form or use your own form. If you use your own consent form, you must capture the necessary information to show that the resident consents to a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • verbal consent: if you receive verbal consent, you must record it in a resident’s care notes, following usual practices.

Does my facility need to receive consent prior to the first and second dose?

You need to obtain the resident's consent to receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

You can obtain consent for both doses at the same time, prior to the person receiving their first dose.

You must keep a record of the resident's consent. This record will be used to confirm consent prior to both doses.

If you are obtaining consent verbally, you must confirm if consent is being provided for the two doses of the same vaccine and record this through your normal practices.

The Department of Health's consent form provides that consent is for "a course of COVID-19 vaccine (i.e. two doses of the same vaccine)". If you are using this form, or an alternate form of written consent, you must ensure the consent is understood as being provided for the two doses of the same vaccine.

What information should my facility give to residents?

You need to provide residents and/or their representatives with detailed and accurate information about COVID-19 vaccination. You should give the following information sheets to potential recipients (before vaccination day):

These information sheets are available in several languages.

More details

For more information about valid consent, refer to the Australian Immunisation Handbook: Preparing for vaccination – Valid consent.

Some jurisdictions have specific requirements relevant to guardians (or substitute decision-makers) consenting on behalf of another person. Refer to relevant state and territory laws for more information.

Monitor and report adverse events

Residents should be monitored for any side effects after vaccination. These are usually mild and include:

  • pain or swelling at the injection site
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • chills
  • fever
  • joint pain.

These side effects usually go away within one or two days. If residents experience pain at the injection site or fever, headaches or body aches after vaccination, they can take paracetamol or ibuprofen. These help reduce the above symptoms (they do not need to take paracetamol or ibuprofen before vaccination). If there is swelling at the injection site, they can use a cold compress.

Suspected side effects can be reported to the vaccination provider or other healthcare professional. They will then make a formal report on the patient’s behalf to the state or territory health department, or directly to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

If residents prefer to report it themselves, please see reporting suspected side effects associated with a COVID-19 vaccine on the TGA website and follow the directions.

Provide information to your residents and workers

A suite of resources and information is available to help you communicate with your workers and residents about the COVID-19 vaccine program.

You should ensure your workers and residents can access information in a way that is easy for them, such as:

  • displaying posters and information sheets in prominent areas on site
  • emailing workers and resident representatives
  • posting information to your social media channels
  • placing articles in your newsletters.

Resources

The following resources are available to help you plan and prepare for COVID-19 vaccination in your facility:

The following resources are available to help you communicate with workers and residents:

National coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine helpline

If you need information about COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines or help with the COVIDSafe app, call the telephone number listed below. This number operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

View contact

Last updated: 
3 March 2021

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