ATAGI recommends COVID-19 booster five months after second dose
The Australian Government has accepted the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation’s (ATAGI) recommendation to shorten the interval between a second dose COVID-19 vaccination and booster dose from six to five months.
Given the likelihood of ongoing transmission of both Omicron and Delta variants, ATAGI recommends anyone aged 18 and older receive their COVID-19 booster vaccination five months after their second dose vaccination.
ATAGI notes that timely receipt of a booster dose is particularly important for people with increased exposure risk (e.g. occupational risk or outbreak areas) or who have risk factors for severe disease. This applies to people who receive and who deliver aged care services in home and community settings.
You can read ATAGI’s statement on the Omicron variant and timing of COVID-19 booster vaccination.
You can read the media release issued by the Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, on COVID-19 boosters to be available from five months.
Either Comirnaty (Pfizer) or Spikevax (Moderna) are recommended for use as a booster vaccine, and are considered equally acceptable, regardless of which vaccine you received for your primary course.
All in-home and community aged care providers are strongly encouraged to ensure their workforce and care recipients are aware of the change in eligibility for booster doses to five months, and to promote awareness of how people can access a booster dose at GPs, pharmacies and state and territory vaccination clinics.
Booster dose appointments can be made via the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder.
CHSP workforce vaccination data now available online
Workforce vaccination data reported by all Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) providers via the My Aged Care portal is now available on the department's website.
The public reporting lists each CHSP provider and reports on the percentage of workers ‘partially vaccinated’ (first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine) and ‘fully vaccinated’ (two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine).
Suppression techniques have been applied to the data which will be banded into ranges (e.g. 90-100% of workers are partially vaccinated). The range used is determined by the number of workers at each outlet:
- providers with less than 5 staff are listed as having “confidentiality applied” and no data is reported
- 5-10 staff have a 50% banding (i.e. 0-49.9% and 50-100%)
- 11-15 staff have 33% banding
- 16-20 staff have 20% banding
- more than 20 staff have 10% banding.
The data is presented as a downloadable Excel spreadsheet, and will be updated weekly to reflect data reported by providers via My Aged Care (in accordance with the mandatory weekly reporting cycle).
Currently, 96% per cent of home care and 93% per cent of CHSP workers are reported as having received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 88% per cent of home care and 87% of CHSP workers are reported as now being double vaccinated.
It is critical to ensure your workforce reporting is 100 per cent by the deadline for double dose vaccination as specified in your respective state or territory public health directions.
Webinar on My Aged Care and mandatory reporting now available online
A recording of the recent webinar on workforce vaccination requirements, including a guided virtual tour of reporting via My Aged Care is now available online. It includes information about what to include in the reporting tool, where, when and how.
The webinar features speakers Jane Bacot-Kilpatrick from LASA; Cathy Haffner and Ben Hooper from the Department and Danielle Winzenried from ACSA.
The information presented will benefit CEOs, service managers, staff responsible for My Aged Care reporting and residential aged care providers.
Resources to support workforce vaccination and how you report on it
Providers are reminded of the many resources available on the Department’s website to support workforce vaccination and reporting:
Supporting workers to be vaccinated:
- How in-home and community aged care workers can book a COVID-19 vaccination
- How in-home and community aged care workers can prove their COVID-19 vaccination status
- Who can get vaccinated
- Safety of COVID-19 vaccines
- Find out the facts about COVID-19 vaccines
- Jurisdictional webinar series on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for in-home and community aged care workers
Supporting providers to accurately report workforce vaccination data:
- Guidance for in-home and community aged care providers on reporting of workforce COVID-19 vaccinations and exemptions
- My Aged Care Quick Reference Guide on COVID-19 vaccination reporting
Apply for grant funding to support worker vaccination
Home care providers can apply for grant funding in 2021-22 through the Home Care Packages Program COVID-19 Vaccination Support Grant (Grant).
The Grant provides 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.
Under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) Emergency Support for COVID-19 Ad Hoc Round (GO3877), $48.8 million is available in 2021-22 which includes $13.8 million for vaccination reporting support and incentives for workforce COVID-19 vaccination.
CHSP providers can apply for funding via GrantsConnect and applications close on 30 June 2022.
CHSP providers can access emergency funds for costs associated with putting in place systems or process for reporting on workforce vaccination, and for initiatives to support and facilitate workforce vaccination.
#ProudToProtect: Home and CHSP worker vaccination webinar
A special webinar sharing important information about the workforce vaccination requirements covered in the AHPPC National Framework and how these are presented through the state and territory public health orders took place on Thursday 9 December 2021.
The webinar is available for on demand viewing at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwmSdPmvpAE
Panellists discussed how workers can receive priority access to a COVID-19 vaccine and how they can provide evidence of their vaccination status to providers. They also provided information on the HC and CHSP grants available to assist providers to support workforce vaccination.
Attendees took the opportunity to ask a variety of questions on workforce vaccination and reporting requirements as well as the grant funding available.