The Morrison Government is helping aged care workers get vaccinated as part of an $11 million grant program.
Applications are now open for aged care providers to apply for the funding following recommendations mandatory vaccinations be introduced.
The program was established in recognition of the individual circumstances of aged care workers now subject to the new requirement.
National Cabinet endorsed the decision of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for all residential aged care workers by mid-September 2021, when they are required to have at least a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Residential Aged Care COVID-19 Employee Vaccination Support Grant will allow casual residential aged care workers to be paid under the following two categories via their employer:
- A fee of $80 per staff member, per dose, for going off-site for vaccination; and
- Paid sick leave if unwell after vaccination and the staff member has no other leave entitlements – a day’s paid leave (at a rate of $185).
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said the grants program is an important measure to help lift COVID-19 vaccination rates.
“It will help residential aged care workers who may need to travel to get vaccinated at the nearest hub, clinic or GP,” Minister Hunt said.
“The grants program will also help those workers who do not have leave entitlements to recover from any minor side effects and who may be concerned about losing wages after being vaccinated.”
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck, said the grants program will also provide financial support for flexible vaccination facilitation costs.
Up to $500 per residential aged care facility will also be available under the grants program to contribute to costs that may be incurred in facilitating access to vaccination for workers.
“This will cover transport services, arranging groups of workers to be vaccinated and/or any other reasonable expenses that support workers to get vaccinated,” Minister Colbeck said.
“The Commonwealth will continue to work closely with the aged care sector, including the unions, to ensure support and access to COVID-19 vaccination for all workers in residential aged care.”
Minister Colbeck said ensuring all aged care workers are vaccinated will further protect the residents in their care.
“This is why COVID-19 vaccinations will be mandated for residential aged care workers as a condition of working in an aged care facility through shared state, territory and Commonwealth authorities and compliance measures,” he said.
The Morrison Government contracted vaccine workforce providers to deliver vaccination in-reach clinics to 2566 Commonwealth-subsidised residential aged care facilities for residents and, where additional vaccines were available, workers.
Providers are also now able to vaccinate their own workers on-site. The request for tender is open until 30 July and so far more than 25,000 staff will be vaccinated through this program. All on-site vaccination programs will include Pfizer
Aged care providers can also consult with their Primary Health Network and GPs to organise on-site vaccination clinics for workers.
Workers accessing a COVID-19 vaccination through off-site clinics will also be offered Pfizer once it is available – this includes through general practices, Commonwealth vaccination clinics and state clinics.
From July 2021, around 1300 GPs will be administering Pfizer vaccinations, providing additional sites for vaccination.
Applications for the Residential Aged Care COVID-19 Employee Vaccination Support Grant can be found on the Australian Government's GrantConnect website.