COVID-19 Winter dose program in residential aged care
From today, residential aged care facilities can commence administering COVID-19 Winter dose vaccinations to aged care residents and workers who meet ATAGI's criteria of a vulnerable individual.
A winter dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for residents in aged care ahead of the winter season, and aligns with the Commonwealth's winter preparedness planning.
ATAGI recommends that aged care residents and other vulnerable groups receive their COVID-19 Winter dose from 4 months after their initial booster dose.
In special circumstances, such as in residential aged care, the COVID-19 Winter dose can be administered at a shorter interval but not less than 3 months after the initial booster dose.
Aged care providers should already be planning for the delivery of COVID-19 Winter vaccines for their residents, including engaging with primary care providers and discussing the program with residents and workers.
Your options for COVID-19 Winter dose vaccination
Primary care providers are the key delivery channel for on-site COVID-19 Winter vaccinations.
Aged care providers are required to work with existing primary care providers to plan for the delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations as residents become eligible.
If you require assistance in organising for a primary care provider to deliver your COVID-19 Winter vaccine doses, contact your Primary Health Network as soon as possible.
Aged care providers previously approved by the Commonwealth to conduct their self-run on-site COVID-19 vaccination clinics can opt to run their own COVID-19 Winter dose clinics.
- These aged care providers can also opt to administer flu vaccinations at the same time, if authorised to do so by their respective state or territory government. It is important to note that only the COVID-19 vaccination component will be covered under the provider's contract with the Commonwealth.
Facilities that are unable to secure a primary care provider to administer COVID-19 Winter vaccine doses, and do not have prior approval to conduct a self-run on-site clinic, will be able to request an in-reach Commonwealth COVID-19 Winter Dose Vaccination clinic.
- To be eligible for a Commonwealth COVID-19 Winter dose clinic a facility will need to have 10% or more of their resident population requiring a COVID-19 vaccination, and a minimum of 10 residents in total.
- Vaccination requirements can include primary, booster or Winter doses.
- Facilities who do not meet this threshold, but who are unable to access an alternate means to deliver the vaccine, can also register interest for a Commonwealth COVID-19 Winter dose Vaccination clinic.
To register for a Commonwealth COVID-19 Winter dose Vaccination clinic, complete the online form.
Co-administration of COVID-19 Winter dose and annual flu vaccination
ATAGI advises that COVID-19 Winter doses can be administered at the same time as the annual flu vaccination. Co-administration of COVID-19 Winter doses and influenza vaccines for residents is both clinically safe and administratively efficient.
In planning your Winter dose programs, aged care providers are encouraged to:
- identify and optimise opportunities for co-administration of COVID-19 Winter doses and flu vaccines where possible.
- not delay the administration of flu vaccines to residents if co-administration is not possible or is likely to delay flu vaccination.
Age care providers should review the information available on the Department of Health website. This section includes information on consent, clinical guidelines and information to be distributed to residents prior to a vaccination clinic.
These resources are being updated to reflect the additional COVID-19 Winter dose recommended for residents in aged care facilities.
Vaccination outside of on-site clinic times
Aged care providers are required to organise alternate means of vaccination for residents who become eligible before or after their scheduled on-site vaccination clinic. This can include administration by a GP or pharmacist.
Winter doses for eligible workers
Workers who meet ATAGI's criteria of a vulnerable individual should be supported to receive a Winter dose from 4 months after their booster dose. Workers can access the Winter dose through:
- your facilities on-site vaccination program
- general practitioners
- state and territory vaccination clinics.
Workers can book a Winter dose appointment using the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder. They can also 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.
Winter dose vaccination for eligible workers is not mandatory and is not required to meet ATAGI's definition of up-to-date.