Tasmania’s public health direction requires workers, including volunteers, in the delivery of in-home and community aged care services to have had their first dose of the COVID 19 vaccine, or a vaccination booking, by 30 November 2021.
The public health direction covers the direct workforce, including volunteers, providing services on a regular basis, but excludes the in-reach services workforce such as pharmacists and other persons who are requested by a resident to provide services to that resident.
The scope of the Direction covers all Commonwealth funded aged care service providers delivering in-home and community aged care services including:
- Home Care Packages
- Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP)
- National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program home care services
- Short-Term Restorative Care
- Transition Care Program
- Multi-Purposes Services.
The purpose of this direction is to put in place measures to protect frontline workers and those in their care. This includes recipients who access in-home and community care services in Tasmania.
Under the public health direction, workers must provide evidence of their vaccination status evidence of a vaccination booking, or a valid exemption as outlined within the public health direction to deliver care to clients at their home or community settings.
The provider of in-home and community aged care service must keep records of all persons sufficiently vaccinated, evidence of vaccination intention (i.e. booking for vaccination) and those who are exempt. The provider must make available these records to authorised officers upon request.
On 5 November 2021, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) recommended mandating COVID-19 vaccination for in-home and community aged care workers nationally. You can read the AHPPC’s statement on mandatory vaccination of in-home and community aged care workers.
The department is planning a webinar for Tasmanian in-home and community aged care workers and further information will be provided shortly.
Further information on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination in aged care is available on the department's website.
Grant funding opportunities to support your workforce to get vaccinated
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 My Aged Care.
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 Australian Government has announced a total of $20 million in 2021-22 for the Home Care Packages Program COVID-19 Vaccination Support Grant (Grant).
The Grant will provide additional financial support for Home Care Package (HCP) providers to increase COVID-19 vaccination of the in-home and community aged care workforce and to report on the workforce vaccination status through the My Aged Care portal.
Providers will be able to use the Grant to cover costs incurred between 1 July 2021 and 30 June 2022.
The Grant opened on Friday 5 November 2021 and will be open until 28 January 2022. Providers who apply before 2pm AEDT 18 November 2021 will receive an offer in December 2021 with first payments made on execution of the grant. All approved providers with HCP recipients are eligible to apply.
Grants will be offered at a provider level (not for each service outlet) with capped funding based on the number of HCP recipients in your care at 5 November 2021.
For the grant opportunity guidelines and frequently asked questions, see the Grant Opportunity (GO5126) on GrantConnect.
How your workforce 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.
- Tasmanian mass vaccination clinics - In-home and community aged care workers can make an appointment to get vaccinated at a Tasmanian mass vaccination clinic.
Workers 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.
- 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 in 20 languages provides further information on accessing a COVID-19 vaccine. We encourage all providers to share the fact sheet with your workforce.
A fact sheet is also available for you to share with care recipients on how they can get vaccinated.
An information kit to assist providers to support their workers and recipients to get vaccinated is available on the department’s website at COVID-19 information for in-home and community aged care.
Providing evidence of vaccination
There are two ways workers can provide evidence of their vaccination status:
- 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.
- 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 AEDT) 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.