Read the media release issued today by the Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Greg Hunt MP.
As at 9 February 2022, providers reported that 19 per cent of eligible residents who have received a second dose are yet to receive a booster dose.
While the majority of residents were eligible to receive their booster dose, not all residents were able to a booster dose on the day of the in-reach clinic, consent was not completed in some cases and and some residents were not eligible at the time.
It is critical that every resident is offered the opportunity receive a booster dose.
A booster dose will strengthen a person’s immune response to a potential COVID-19 infection and reduce the risk of severe disease, hospitalisation or death from COVID-19.
Residential aged care facilities are responsible for ensuring the safety and protection of residents through access and support to COVID-19 vaccination.
This includes proactively arranging for residents to access a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as quickly and safely as possible if they have not yet received a booster.
If you are not actively arranging booster shots for remaining eligible residents, you must do this as soon as possible.
The options available for booster doses, and first or second doses as required, include primary care providers, including visiting GPs and pharmacists and through self-vaccination clinics. The department has opened the Request for Tender RFT Health/22-301174 inviting aged care providers to apply to vaccinate residents and workers.
Otherwise, the Commonwealth will offer return booster clinics as a mechanism to support facilities to deliver boosters as soon as practically possible. These are being offered regardless of whether your initial booster clinic was delivered by a Commonwealth vaccine provider, primary care provider or residential aged care provider.
Return booster clinics for residents and workers
Facilities can register for a return booster clinic where at least 10 per cent of residents at the facility require a COVID-19 vaccine dose (first, second or third/booster) and that this equates to 10 or more residents.
Facilities who do not meet this threshold need to engage with primary care in the first instance to deliver required boosters. Primary Health Networks can also assist in connecting facilities with primary care providers that can deliver in-reach vaccine services. Where this is not possible, the Commonwealth will then offer an in-reach booster clinic.
All return booster clinics will offer booster doses to all eligible residents and workers. Those requiring a first or second, or a third dose for people who are severely immunocompromised, can also receive these doses at the return booster clinics.
How to request a return booster clinic for your facility
In order to host a return booster clinic, facilities will need to complete a short registration form. Following registration, the department will work with vaccine providers to schedule the clinic.
The registration form can be found here, with registrations open until 28 February 2022. You can request your local Primary Health Network register your facility for a return clinic if required.
Queries about Commonwealth return booster clinics can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Facilities are encouraged to register early to ensure the delivery of vaccines as soon as possible.
Please review your data on resident and worker first, second and booster rates to assist in determining your need for a return booster clinic, and ensure this data is accurately reported via My Aged Care.
You are also strongly encouraged to commence discussions with residents and their families, and workers, to seek consent ahead of the return clinic.
If your preference is to engage a primary care provider to administer booster doses, you can request assistance from your Primary Health Network if required.
If your preference is to self-vaccinate your residents and workers requiring a booster or other required doses, please contact COVID19VaccineProcurement@Health.gov.au.
Mandatory reporting of resident booster vaccination rates
It is now a mandatory requirement for all residential aged care facilities to report each Tuesday via My Aged Care provider portal on residents’ booster doses and third doses, in addition to workforce booster doses.
All facilities should now be reporting each Tuesday on their resident booster vaccination rates.
The Department of Health will be undertaking compliance measures on facilities that fail to update their resident and workforce vaccination data via My Aged Care.
It is critical that your facility’s reported data on resident booster doses is up to date as part of your preparation and response to COVID-19 outbreaks.
It is also essential that you support residents who were not eligible for a booster dose if you have already had your on-site booster clinic to access a booster vaccination from a visiting GP or pharmacist.
Boosters strengthen a person’s immune system and have a direct impact on reducing the severity of illness or death from COVID-19, particularly for vulnerable people.
All residents should be strongly encouraged and supported to receive a booster dose when they are eligible.
Workforce COVID-19 booster data to be published on health.gov.au
The department intends to publish residential aged care workforce booster vaccination rates on the interactive map for residential aged care workforce COVID-19 vaccination rates by facility, which is available on health.gov.au.
The Publication is expected to commence on 16 February 2022.
It is mandatory for all residential aged care providers to include workforce COVID-19 vaccine booster doses as part of your reporting each Tuesday via the My Aged Care provider portal.
Weekly workforce booster dose reporting by each residential aged care facility became a mandatory requirement from Tuesday 25 January 2022.
You are also encouraged to update your My Aged Care in between the weekly Tuesday reporting periods. This is to ensure the Department has the most accurate data to support COVID-19 outbreak preparedness and response.
How your workforce can access a priority booster dose
To continue to protect residents in aged care facilities, all workers are strongly encouraged to get a booster dose.
It is a mandatory condition of employment for residential aged care workers to receive a COVID-19 booster dose in the Northern Territory, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
Providers are encouraged to support their workforce to get a booster dose as soon as they are eligible (i.e. three months after receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine).
In addition to in-reach booster clinics, residential aged care workers who are eligible for a booster dose can access priority vaccination at:
- Dedicated hubs – currently in the ACT, NT, NSW, QLD, SA and VIC
- State and territory vaccination clinics
- Visiting GPs or pharmacists
- Community pharmacies
- General practices.