In-home and community aged care recipients, workers and providers
Vaccination of older Australians and those who care for them is the most effective protection against COVID-19.
Why is vaccination important for me?
COVID-19 vaccination, including booster doses, is voluntary but strongly encouraged for senior Australians.
It remains the most effective protection against severe illness, hospitalisation and death from COVID-19. A booster dose will boost your immune response and provide an additional layer of protection.
For in-home and communication aged care workers it is mandatory to be vaccinated against COVID-19. A number of states and territories have also mandated boosters for this workforce.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends that people aged all people aged 16 years and over receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose to maintain an “up-to-date” status. This booster dose is recommended from 3 months after your second dose.
If you are not up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations, it is important to get vaccinated as quickly and safely as possible.
As occurs in the Winter months, it is anticipated this year Australia will see an increase in respiratory viruses such as influenza, as well as in COVID-19 cases.
ATAGI advises that COVID-19 Winter doses can be administered at the same time as the annual flu vaccination.
Who is recommended for a COVID-19 Winter dose?
ATAGI recommends that people who are considered at most risk from COVID-19 receive an additional COVID-19 vaccine dose before Winter.
The recommended COVID-19 Winter vaccine dose is to bolster vulnerable peoples’ protection from severe illness, hospitalisation or death from COVID-19 over the Winter season.
ATAGI recommends the COVID-19 Winter dose for people who received their initial booster at least 4 months ago and who are:
- 65 years or older
- A resident of an aged care or disability facility
- Severely immunocompromised
- Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander aged 50 years or older.
The additional winter booster dose can be given from 4 months or longer after the person has received their first booster dose, or from 4 months after a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, if infection occurred since the person’s first COVID-19 booster dose.
The COVID-19 Winter vaccine dose is voluntary.
If you have any concerns, please talk to your doctor or other health professional.
Where can I get vaccinated?
You can book an appointment for a primary, booster or COVID-19 Winter dose through the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder including:
Primary care clinics
In-home and community aged care recipients and workers can get vaccinated at a GP clinic, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Service or participating pharmacy.
Workers are prioritised to receive a booking within 7 days of their request for an appointment.
People with mobility challenges are encouraged to contact their GP or pharmacist to discuss options for a home visit to receive a vaccination.
State and territory vaccination clinics
In-home and community aged care workers and recipients can make an appointment to get vaccinated at a state or territory vaccination clinic.
Which vaccine can I get?
There are currently 4 safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines available in Australia, Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca), Spikevax (Moderna), Comirnaty (Pfizer) and Nuvaxovid (Novavax).
Each vaccine is highly effective at preventing death and severe illness among people who contract COVID-19.
The Comirnaty (Pfizer) and Spikevax (Moderna) vaccines are the preferred vaccines for booster doses.
Is vaccination mandatory for workers?
On 5 November 2021, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) recommended a national framework for mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements for in-home and community aged care workers be established under state and territory public health orders.
All states and territories have now mandated COVID-19 vaccination for in-home and community aged care workers. Workers may be required to show proof of vaccination status to their employer.
This means that all in-home and residential aged care workers are required to have received at least two primary doses as a condition of their employment.
In the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia, it is also mandatory for in-home and community aged care workers to get a booster dose.
It is strongly encouraged that all in-home and community aged care workers get a booster dose as soon as they are eligible (at least 3 months after a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine).
It is strongly encouraged that all eligible in-home and community aged care workers get a winter dose as soon as possible (at least 4 months after a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine)
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee’s recommended scope for mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements includes:
- All Commonwealth funded aged care service providers delivering in-home and community aged care services including:
- Home Care Packages
- Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP)
- National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program home care services
- Short-Term Restorative Care
- Transition Care Program
- Multi-Purposes Services
- All full-time, part-time and casual staff employed or engaged by the Commonwealth funded service provider, including sub-contractors and volunteers (proposed definition below).
- Workers and volunteers in all roles delivered by the Commonwealth funded aged care service provider, including those that provide care and services in and around clients’ homes, in the community and organisational administration.
An information kit is available to assist providers to support their workers to get vaccinated.
Providers are encouraged to print and display posters in staff areas to promote the importance of being up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations, including booster doses.
How can providers support care recipients and workers to get vaccinated?
In-home and community aged care service providers have an important role in supporting their clients and workforce during the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
Providers can assist their care recipients and workforce to understand how they can access a COVID-19 booster vaccination, or other required doses:
Information can be shared through established communication channels, including through check-in calls or regular services.
Advise recipients of the importance of having a family member or other person aware of when they are receiving a vaccination so they can be monitored post-vaccination.
Provide workers and volunteers with a letter confirming their employment in the aged care sector to take to their vaccination appointment. Other forms of identification can also be used.
Guide staff and volunteers to encourage a care recipient to see a GP if they observe any noticeable changes in their wellbeing.
Home Care Packages COVID-19 Vaccination Support Grant
Home Care Package (HCP) providers can apply for a COVID-19 vaccination grant to help them support workers to be vaccinated and to support the additional work needed to report on the workforce vaccination status through the aged care provider portal.
The Australian Government has announced a total of $20 million in 2021-22 for the Home Care Packages Program COVID-19 Vaccination Support Grant (Grant).
Providers will be able to use the Grant to cover costs incurred between 1 July 2021 and 30 June 2022.
The Grant opened on Friday 5 November 2021 and will be open until 29 April 2022. Previously, the closing date was 28 January 2022. All approved providers with HCP recipients are eligible to apply.
Grants will be offered at a provider level (not for each service outlet) with capped funding based on the number of HCP recipients in your care at 5 November 2021.
For the grant opportunity guidelines and frequently asked questions, see the Grant Opportunity (GO5216) on GrantConnect.
CHSP Emergency Support for COVID-19 Ad Hoc Grant
CHSP providers can access emergency funds for costs associated with putting in place systems or process for reporting on workforce vaccination, and for initiatives to support and facilitate workforce vaccination.
Under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) Emergency Support for COVID-19 Ad Hoc Round (GO3877), $48.8 million is available in 2021-22 which includes $13.8 million for vaccination reporting support and incentives for workforce COVID-19 vaccination.
CHSP providers can apply for funding via GrantsConnect and applications close on 30 June 2022.
What should workers take to their vaccination appointment?
You can provide the following documents to confirm you require a priority vaccination:
proof of identity (e.g. driver's licence, passport, birth certificate)
proof of employment
letter from your employer confirming you have priority access
- current work ID card or payslip showing you are currently employed as an aged care worker
Medicare card if you have one. You are still eligible for vaccination even if you do not have a Medicare card.
Do workforce vaccinations need to be reported?
It is mandatory for all in-home and community aged care providers to keep records on the COVID-19 vaccination status of their workforce, including booster doses.
Providers must also report each Tuesday through the aged care provider portal on:
total number of workers at each aged care service and, of those,
the number of workers at each service who have received a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and
the number of workers at each service who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine,
- number of workers who have an authorised exemption (across five exemption categories)
- of the workers who have received a vaccination (reported above), the number who have received a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Home care workforce COVID-19 vaccination rates by provider are available in a downloadable table format.
Commonwealth Home Support Programme workforce COVID-19 vaccination rates are also available in a downloadable table format.
Resources to support informed decision-making
It is normal to have questions about the new COVID-19 vaccines and to possibly feel hesitant about getting the vaccine.
Throughout the pandemic, the Australian Government continues to follow expert medical advice. Your safety is the number one priority.
You may choose to talk to a health professional about the benefits and risks of vaccination. This will help you decide if vaccination is suitable for you.
The following resources are available to assist you:
- COVID-19 booster vaccine advice
- How care recipients can book a COVID-19 vaccination
- COVID-19 Winter dose information for senior Australians
- How in-home and community aged care workers can book a COVID-19 vaccination
- Who can get vaccinated
- Safety of COVID-19 vaccines
- Find out the facts about COVID-19 vaccines
- Decision guide to help people who are frail or very old
This information is available in several languages.