The Australian Government is supporting primary care COVID-19 vaccination providers to offer vaccinations to residential aged care and disability support workers through dedicated workplace-based clinics.
As part of ensuring residential aged care workers can access a COVID-19 vaccine ahead of
17 September 2021 – when COVID-19 vaccination becomes mandatory for these workers – the Government is offering additional vaccination payments to primary care vaccination providers who set up clinics at the relevant facilities.
Until 31 October 2021, the general practices, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) and Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics (CVCs) which prioritise workplace vaccinations for aged care and disability support workers will be able to access additional payments for every dose administered.
The additional incentives are offered in recognition of the importance of vaccinating workers against COVID-19 to support the wellbeing of the vulnerable people they care for.
The incentive payment will be made available to general practices, ACCHS and CVCs where a minimum of 50 cumulative COVID-19 vaccination doses are provided to aged care and disability support workers across facilities as part of on-site vaccination clinics.
To ensure a coordinated approach, 31 Primary Health Networks (PHNs) across Australia will play a key role in supporting primary care providers conducting vaccination clinics for residential aged care workers. Disability support workplace clinics may be coordinated directly between disability support providers and primary care providers.
Only practices participating in the Practice Incentives Program (PIP) or which operate as a CVC are eligible to participate.
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has recommended the mandatory vaccination of workers in residential aged care and this has been endorsed by National Cabinet.
AHPPC has now approved the framework for which workers the mandate applies to, enabling states and territories to progress with the development of the public health orders.
COVID-19 vaccination will be mandatory for full time, part-time and casual residential aged care workers, volunteers engaged by the facility, and students on placement. This includes anyone employed or engaged by a residential aged care facility who works on-site in a facility. Medical practitioners, such as general practitioners and consulting specialists, are also covered by this scope. All other workers who provide in-reach services or who attend on a visiting basis are strongly encouraged to get a COVID-19 vaccination.
A limited range of exemptions will also be available, including for pregnancy or a medical exemption, as well as a temporary exemption where access to a vaccine has not been available prior to the 17 September deadline.
A further exemption may apply where compliance with the mandatory vaccination requirement will undermine the quality of care available to residents – for example, high rates of community transmission has exposed multiple RACFs with high numbers of staff furloughed requiring immediate deployments of workforce to provide care.