Vaccinating workers in residential aged care
The Australian Government has revised the COVID-19 vaccine pathways for workers in residential aged care, as agreed at the National Cabinet meeting on 22 April 2021. The revised rollout aims to make it as easy as possible for workers to get vaccinated quickly and safely.
National Cabinet agreed that:
- People aged under 50 will access the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
- People aged 50 and over will access the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
The Department of Health has developed a fact sheet and infographic to support residential aged care workers to understand where and how they can access a vaccination. This includes detailed information on the options available.
The fact sheet is currently being translated into 19 languages.
An information pack has been distributed to all residential aged care facilities with materials for distribution to their workforce.
Residential aged care workers 50 years and over can access an AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at:
- Available now: GP clinics, GP respiratory clinics or Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.
- State and territory clinics coming on line progressively: State and territory AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine clinics.
Residential aged care workers under 50 can access a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at:
- State and territory clinics coming on line progressively: State and territory Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination clinics.
- Clinics commencing from 3 May: Commonwealth Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination clinics dedicated to residential aged care and disability workers only. The first of these clinics will be available in Sydney from 3 May. Information on these clinics has been sent directly to all Sydney-based facilities.
Information on state and territory vaccination clinics and participating GPs can be accessed through the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker. If you can't find details for nearby clinics, please check regularly as the listings will be updated as clinics become available.
Available now for residential aged care facilities that wish to participate: In addition, residential aged care facilities can choose to hold an on-site vaccination clinic for their workforce. These clinics will deliver the appropriate Pfizer or AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, in line with the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommendations for those aged under 50 or aged 50 and over.
Update to COVID-19 vaccine dose policy
The COVID-19 vaccine dose policy has been updated in line with current medical advice recommending Pfizer as the preferred COVID-19 vaccine for people aged under 50.
With the exception of residents, individuals aged under 50 should be prioritised to receive excess Pfizer doses in residential aged care, while still ensuring prioritisation principles are followed as below:
- Any residents who have not provided advance consent, however are able to provide consent on the day of vaccination, including respite residents who are expected to be at the RACF at the time for the second dose.
- Individuals aged under 50
- a. Vaccine workforce provider staff
- b. Residential aged care facility staff
- c. Essential care persons
- d. Other regular visitors to RACFs including aged care advocates, Dementia Australia staff and Community Visitors Scheme visitors
- e. Family member of residents on site for the day of vaccination.
Residential aged care facilities should ensure they adhere to these new guidelines by following the updated COVID-19 vaccine dose policy published on the Department of Health website.