Senior Australians in residential aged care are leading the national uptake of boosters, with 80.56 per cent of those eligible for their third vaccine shot now having received it.
In-reach booster clinics have reached all 2541 facilities across Australia, with the program completed ahead of the original schedule as the Morrison Government responded to the updated advice on the timing of boosters by ATAGI.
The booster vaccination rate for aged care residents is well ahead of the national community figure of 55.43 per cent.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said it is an excellent response from residents and encouraged those who may not have been eligible or originally declined a booster, to roll up their sleeves.
“We want to continue to provide increased protection for senior Australians and are returning to residential aged care facilities to provide another opportunity for both residents and workers to get their booster dose,” Minister Hunt said.
“While all facilities have now had a booster clinic, 19 per cent of eligible residents have not yet received their booster dose, and 10 per cent of all residents are yet to complete their first and second doses. This is a concern.”
“We are committed to supporting our senior Australians and those who care for them in aged care facilities to get protected through vaccination.”
Residential aged care facilities are responsible for ensuring the safety and protection of residents through access and support to COVID-19 vaccination.
This includes proactively arranging for residents to access a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as quickly and safely as possible if they have not yet received a booster.
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck said is critical for residents and workers at each residential aged care service to be strongly encouraged and supported to receive their COVID-19 booster dose.
“All residential aged care providers not actively arranging booster doses for remaining eligible residents must do so as soon as possible,” Minister Colbeck said.
The options available for booster doses, and first or second doses as required, include primary care providers, including visiting GPs and pharmacists, self-vaccination clinics or Commonwealth return clinics.
To support on-site self-vaccination clinics for residents and workers, the Commonwealth today opened a Request for Tender for residential aged care providers, recognising the capability and capacity of many aged care providers to conduct safe and efficient vaccination programs.
Self-vaccination clinics also enable residential aged care providers to offer flexibility to residents and workers, without having to schedule clinics with an external vaccine provider.
Facility management can register now for a Commonwealth return booster clinic where at least 10 per cent of residents at the facility require a COVID-19 vaccine dose (first, second or third/booster) and that this equates to 10 or more residents.
Facilities which do not meet this threshold are encouraged to engage with primary care providers in the first instance to deliver required boosters. Where this is not possible, the Commonwealth will offer an in-reach booster clinic.
All returning clinics will offer booster doses to all eligible residents and workers.
Those facilities requiring a first, second, or third dose for people who are severely immunocompromised, can also receive these doses at the return booster clinics.
Dedicated worker vaccination hubs are also coming online, with those states and territories that have now mandated booster vaccinations for residential aged care being a priority.
Workers can also access a priority booster appointment through existing state and territory vaccination clinics, GPs and community pharmacists.