Date published: 
11 June 2021
Type: 
Newsletter
Intended Audience: 
Health sector

First dose COVID-19 vaccine clinics completed across residential aged care

All first dose COVID-19 vaccination clinics across the 2,566 residential aged care facilities in the Commonwealth’s aged care roll out are now completed. Thank you to all residents, their families, aged care facility workers and vaccine workforce providers for your cooperation.

Over 157,666 aged care residents have received a COVID-19 vaccine representing 85 per cent of all residents in aged care. Of these, over 142,114 have received a second dose and are now fully vaccinated. This marks a great milestone in the vaccine roll-out to protect those most at risk from the impacts of COVID-19.

Second dose clinics are 92 per cent completed, with the remaining 196 second dose clinics scheduled within the recommended timeframe between doses.

In Victoria and Queensland, additional roving teams have been established to offer first dose vaccinations to residents in Tier 1 locations (as defined by Victorian and Queensland Health authorities). In all other regions, Primary Health Networks are working with residential aged care facilities to ensure local access to a COVID-19 vaccine for any residents not yet been vaccinated. This includes residents who entered a facility after vaccine clinics were held or who have subsequently changed their mind about being vaccinated.

Translated videos for aged care workers on COVID-19 vaccination

A range of videos for aged care workers are now available in 15 languages about how and where to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The videos also include information about COVID-19 vaccine safety and how the COVID-19 vaccines work. You are encouraged to share the videos with your network and colleagues.

Over 43,354 residential aged care workers have received a COVID-19 vaccine with available doses at in-reach clinics on completion of resident vaccination.

There are a number of options for aged care workers to access a vaccine including general practices, state and territory run vaccination clinics and Commonwealth vaccination clinics (GP respiratory clinics).

A wide range of resources are available to support and engage facilities and their workforce (including information in 19 languages).

Reminder: Mandatory reporting of aged care worker COVID-19 vaccination status starts 15 June 2021

Mandatory reporting is being introduced for all providers of aged care services in residential, in-home and community (Commonwealth Home Support Programme) settings to provide weekly updates on the COVID-19 vaccination status of your aged care workforce.

Starting on 15 June 2021, approved providers of residential aged care services must report weekly. It will become mandatory for providers of in-home and community aged care services in the coming weeks.

All approved providers are strongly encouraged to start reporting now.

Reporting is via the My Aged Care portal for approved providers. The new reporting requires approved providers to record de-identified data at a service level on the:

  • total number of workers at each aged care service and, of those,
  • the number of workers at each service who have received a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
  • the number of workers at each service who have received all required doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Guidance and further information is available via Health.gov.au. This includes information specifically for South Australian requirements.

Extension to Request for Tender for Provision of COVID-19 Vaccination Administration by Residential Aged Care Providers

The Commonwealth Department of Health invites approved providers of residential aged care services to deliver the safe, targeted and timely administration of COVID-19 vaccines to residential aged care workers. To support this, a simplified Request for Tender (RFT) Health/20-21/RFT 19454 was published through AusTender on 3 May 2021 and has been extended to close at 2pm, 30 July 2021.

More information about this RFT, including detail on how to apply, can be found on AusTender. We encourage Aged Care Providers to register with AusTender to maintain visibility of opportunities advertised by the department.

Residential aged care providers who do not participate in the RFT will continue to have the opportunity for their workforce to be vaccinated through multiple other channels including general practices, Commonwealth vaccination clinics and state and territory vaccination clinics. Please visit the department’s website for more information.

QLD Health Update

Further to the advice issued yesterday, Queensland Health recommends aged care facilities amend their screening processes to exclude anyone who has visited an exposure venue at the relevant times and encourage them to quarantine, get tested and complete an online contact tracing form or call 134 COVID (134 268).

Anyone who has been in the Sunshine Coast or Darling Downs area since 5 June 2021 is requested to continue to check the Queensland Health website for updates to listed venues.

Queensland Health is removing Victoria as a COVID-19 Hotspot from 1am Friday 11 June. Greater Melbourne will remain a hotspot, and anyone who has been in Greater Melbourne in the past 14 days is not permitted to enter a residential aged care facility in Queensland.

Queensland Health is encouraging residential aged care staff to obtain their COVID vaccination as soon as possible and is expanding its vaccine rollout across 18 Pfizer community vaccination locations. The following groups are invited to register:

  • Anyone working in residential aged or disability care
  • People aged 40-49 years old

Staff can register for an appointment, once registered, staff will receive an invitation to make a booking at a convenient centre.

Please see a list of Frequently Asked Questions on the COVID vaccine.

Victorian DHHS Update

The Victorian DHHS advise that restrictions on visitors to aged care facilities still apply and permitted workers in aged care facilities across Victoria must wear a face mask indoors and outdoors, unless an exception applies, and comply with the Department’s PPE requirements. Further information can be found for RACFs in Metro Melbourne and RACFs in Regional Victoria.

ACT Health Update

The ACT Chief Health Officer has issued an updated alert regarding the COVID-19 situation in other Australian states and territories. Please read the 8 June 2021: CHO alert for new information, the main change to the CHO advice:

  • Anyone who has been to a casual contact exposure location at the specified time and date should not enter a high-risk setting for 14 days after their exposure, even if they have returned a negative COVID-19 test result.

ACT aged care providers can find out more information from ACT Government.

Visitor restrictions and screening

Screening all people on entry to a residential aged care facility is vital. Providers should regularly review screening arrangements to keep them up to date and effective.

Restrictions on the access of visitors to residential aged care facilities are important measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and protect residents and staff.

You should stay up to date with the visitor access directions in your state or territory.

Infection Prevention and Control (IPC)

Residential aged care facilities should conduct self-audits to maintain required standards of infection prevention and control (IPC) across all areas and all shifts. This should include kitchen, cleaning and laundry staff, and volunteers. Providers should also check that staff maintain safe physical distancing. Facilities are required to have an IPC lead to ensure they are prepared to prevent and respond to infectious diseases.

Hand wash and sanitiser should be available in all parts of the facility. Relevant staff should frequently clean high touch surfaces such as door handles and shared equipment like walking aids.

PPE

Aged care providers are asked to ensure they have a sufficient supply of PPE, to use their own supply of PPE first and to request extra supply for emergency purposes as and when needed.

The Commonwealth is prioritising requests for PPE from the National Medical Stockpile to aged care services that are most in need. The deployment of PPE is only where commercial supply is unavailable, and where there is a government direction regarding COVID-19 PPE requirements or demonstrated clinical need.

If you urgently need PPE and cannot source it, please submit an online application. The application will need to be completed for your request to be considered.

Reminder: Webinar - Trauma-informed practice in aged care: wellbeing and self care strategies for staff

Phoenix Australia is one of the organisations delivering trauma support to the aged care sector in the Aged Care COVID-19 Grief and Trauma Response Package. They are hosting a free webinar that will explore wellbeing and self-care strategies for aged care staff who may have experienced trauma in the course of their work, or are caring for people who have experienced trauma.

What will the session cover? This free webinar will explore practical strategies to help individuals, teams and organisations to manage stress and improve wellbeing.

When: 4.00-5.00pm (AEST), Wednesday 16 June 2021

Who should attend?

  • Aged care sector staff including personal care workers, clinical, nursing, allied health, and wellbeing staff, and leaders and managers
  • Aged care peak bodies staff

Register for this free event.

More information and downloadable resources about the grief and trauma supports are available on the Aged Care COVID-19 Grief and Trauma Response Package website. The webinar will be recorded, and will be available for future viewing along with past webinars and other trauma support resources for aged care at the Phoenix Australia Trauma & Aged Care Support and Information Hub.

The Department has commenced a mail out of a printed information pack to all aged care providers on the grief and trauma support available, if you haven’t received your information pack in the next few weeks contact ageing.and.diversity [at] health.gov.au.

Resources

Please share this newsletter with your colleagues and workforce, particularly your communications teams and encourage them to subscribe for future updates. You can view past editions of the Protecting Older Australians Newsletter.