COVID-19 Information for In-home and Community Aged Care Providers and Workers – 14 October 2021

Grant funding opportunities for providers to support workforce vaccination.

Date published:
Type:
Subscriber announcement
Audience:
Health sector

Two grant funding opportunities are available to assist providers to support their workforce to get vaccinated.

First, Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) providers can access emergency funds for costs associated to support staff to get vaccinated. This includes costs associated with staff taking leave to attend a vaccination clinic, or activities that encourage staff to get vaccinated, such as transport to and from a vaccination clinic.

CHSP providers can also access emergency funds for costs associated with collecting and reporting the vaccination status of their workers. From 5 October 2021, it is mandatory for CHSP providers to report the vaccinations status of their workforce to MyAgedCare.

CHSP Providers do not have to apply for these funds in advance of undertaking these activities. CHSP providers can apply for funding via GrantsConnect (GO3877) at www.grants.gov.au and applications close on 30 June 2022.

Secondly, the Department of Health will shortly announce a Home Care Packages Program COVID-19 Vaccination Support Grant Opportunity.

Anticipated funding to be made available is grants of $5,000 and up to $48,000 per provider, scaled depending on the amount of care recipients receiving services with the provider (up to $20 million across all Home Care Package providers).

Applications are expected to open at the beginning of November 2021. Details about the grant opportunity and application process will be available prior to the grant opportunity opening.

The grant opportunity will be available on the GrantConnect website. Providers are encouraged to register in advance.

First payments are expected to be made in late November 2021 and eligible grant activities will include:

  • Facilitating and encouraging workforce COVID-19 vaccinations
  • Coverage of costs for staff to take leave to get a COVID-19 vaccination or if they are sick after a COVID-19 vaccination
  • Collecting and reporting workforce COVID-19 vaccination status data, and improving data quality
  • ICT-related and professional advice costs to set-up processes and systems to track and report the COVID-19 vaccination status of their workforce.

How in-home and community workers can get priority COVID-19 vaccination

Workers can access the vaccine of their choice (Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca)
through:

  • Primary care – including GP clinics, pharmacies, Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics (GP respiratory clinic), and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Services. 
    • Workers are prioritised to receive a booking within 7 days of their request for an appointment at all primary care clinics.
  • State and territory vaccination clinics - In-home and community aged care workers can make an appointment to get vaccinated at a state or territory vaccination clinic. 

Workers can:

  • call the dedicated COVID-19 Helpline on 1800 020 080 (select option 4) for any questions about vaccination and for assistance on how to book an appointment.
  • use the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder to book an appointment at a clinic nearby.

Workers can provide the following documents to confirm their eligibility for 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.

A fact sheet provides further information on accessing a COVID-19 vaccine. We encourage all providers to share the fact sheet with your workforce.

Providing evidence of vaccination
There are two ways workers can provide evidence of their vaccination status:

  1. Immunisation History Statement – this displays all vaccinations or medical contraindications and authorised exemptions, including COVID-19, that have been reported to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). All vaccine providers must upload vaccinations to the AIR.
  2. COVID-19 Digital Certificate – this is for individuals who have received all required doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in Australia.

People can access their Immunisation History Statement:

  • online, by setting up a myGov account and then accessing a Medicare online account; or
  • through the Express Plus Medicare mobile app; or
  • by calling the Australian Immunisation Register enquiries line on 1800 653 809 (8am-5pm, Monday to Friday AEST) and asking them to send a copy of the statement. Please allow up to 14 days to receive the statement in the post; or
  • by asking a GP or vaccination provider to print a copy of your statement for you.

People do not need to have a Medicare card to be able to access their Immunisation History Statement.

Northern Territory mandates COVID-19 vaccination for in-home and community aged care workers

Yesterday the Northern Territory Government announced the introduction of mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for workers in high risk workplaces.

This includes all in-home and community aged care workers.

Under Chief Health Officer Direction 55,  workers must receive a COVID-19 vaccine if, in the course of their work:

  • they come into contact with vulnerable people;
  • their workplace poses a high risk of infection; or
  • they perform work that is necessary for the operation or maintenance of essential infrastructure or logistics in the NT.

The Direction lists examples of workplaces that require mandatory vaccination; however, this list is not exhaustive and it does apply to in-home and community aged care workers.

Exemptions are extremely narrow and must be backed up by medical evidence. Enquiries on exemptions should be directed to the NT Department of Health.

Under the new direction, in-home and community aged care workers must receive their first dose before 13 November 2021, and receive their second dose before 25 December 2021.

Workers who are not vaccinated by 13 November 2021 will not be permitted to attend their workplace, and will face a $5,000 fine if they do not comply with the Chief Health Officer Direction.

The CHO Direction includes provisions for workplaces – including all in-home and community aged care providers - to request proof of vaccination from workers, and requires workplaces to keep a register of staff vaccination rates.

It is already a Commonwealth mandatory requirement for providers to keep records and report weekly via My Aged Care on workforce vaccination rates.

PRIORITY VACCINATION FOR NT WORKERS:

In addition to the priority channels for accessing a COVID-19 vaccination, workers in the NT can book online or call the NT COVID-19 Hotline on 1800 490 484.

Walk-ins are welcome at NT COVID-19 Vaccination Centres in Palmerston, Coolanlinga, Alice Springs, Katherine, Tennant Creek and Gove.

For more information visit https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au.

LASA – ACSA webinar to support workforce COVID-19 vaccination – Friday 15 October

All in-home and community aged care providers are invited to a special webinar hosted by LASA and ACSA at 11.30pm – 12.30pm AEDT tomorrow, Friday 15 October.

Caring for older, vulnerable Australians is a national priority and vaccination against COVID-19 is an important first line of defence. Much of aged care is delivered in the homes of older Australians and home care and CHSP staff are strongly encouraged to protect themselves and those to whom they deliver care through vaccination.

Join this webinar to learn how as home care and CHSP providers you can engage with your workforce to encourage vaccination and reporting of vaccination status. Find out what the policy parameters are for you and how you can celebrate success with your workforce.

The Staff Vaccination Support Service is a joint initiation of LASA and ACSA to support all providers of aged care to navigate vaccination of the workforce.

Who should attend?
Home and CHSP providers – CEOs, ER staff, Operations Managers

Speakers

  • Jane Bacot-Kilpatrick, LASA Executive Officer, Staff Vaccination Support Service Project Lead
  • Lisa Peterson, Assistant Secretary, Aged care COVID-19 Vaccine Branch
  • Libby Pallot, Principal, Russell Kennedy Lawyers
  • AnnaMaria Wade ACSA Senior Manager Member Connect
  • Simon Page, LASA Communications and Marketing Manager

Date 15 October 2021

Time: 11.30am – 12.30pm AEDT
REGISTER HERE – This webinar is free to attend.

Join using your computer, tablet or smartphone.

Department of Health

 

 

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