Protecting Older Australians: COVID-19 Update 3 September 2021

In this issue: Update your My Aged Care Workforce Vaccination data now, Know your relevant Public Health Order and more.

Date published:
Health sector

Important information for all residential aged care providers and facilities

Update your My Aged Care Workforce Vaccination data now

Nationally, 83% of residential aged care workers are reported by providers as having received a first dose COVID-19 vaccine, of those 62% are fully vaccinated.

212 aged care facilities report 100% of their workers have received a first dose COVID-19 vaccine. A further 909 facilities report that 90 - 100% of their workforce have received a first dose.

197 services report less than 60% of workers having received a first dose.

You are strongly urged to ensure your reporting is accurate and counts all currently engaged workers only. A fact sheet has been provided to all providers and facilities and will shortly be available on the website.

Please keep your data updated on a daily basis via My Aged Care as the 17 September deadline for mandatory vaccination approaches.

The data available publicly on the interactive map is as provided by you and the map is updated by 5pm each weekday.

Know your relevant Public Health Order

All residential aged care providers and facility management are responsible for knowing their obligations under the state or territory public health order on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination as it applies to you and your workforce.

All states and territories excluding Victoria have now released their public health orders, which are available on the Mandatory COVID-19 vaccination in residential aged care webpage.

The Victorian Department of Health has notified providers they need to ensure workers are vaccinated by 16 September 2021. The scope of mandatory vaccination for Victorian workers is expected to adhere to the AHPPC framework therefore workers should be strongly encouraged to get their first dose COVID-19 vaccination now.

You are strongly encouraged to view your respective state or territory health department websites for further information and guidance on compliance requirements, required evidence by workers on first dose vaccination or exemption to vaccination, as directed under the relevant public health order.

Take action now if access to a vaccine is an issue 

We are working with each facility to ensure plans are in place, and to provide support where needed, to ensure every worker has access to vaccination prior to 17 September.

If you have any workers who are unable to access a COVID-19 vaccine please urgently contact your Primary Health Network or Commonwealth State Office Manager.

Pfizer is available to residential aged care workers regardless of age. This includes workers who do not have a Medicare card.

Workers can get priority access to a Pfizer vaccine at:

  • On site clinics. These clinics are being delivered in RACFs by Commonwealth Vaccine providers, residential aged care providers or by primary care providers such as GPs.
  • Dedicated Pfizer vaccination hubs for residential aged care and disability workers only.
  • Primary Care sites, including GPs, Commonwealth Vaccination Clinic or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Service, and
  • State and territory vaccination clinics.

All facilities have received the details on all the vaccination channels available to their workers.

All primary care and state or territory vaccination channels have been requested to prioritise access for residential aged care workers, and to offer an appointment within seven (7) days.

If workers have questions or need help to book an appointment, they can call the dedicated COVID-19 Vaccine Helpline on 1800 020 080 and select option 4.

No fault COVID-19 indemnity scheme

The Australian Government has finalised the details of the no fault COVID-19 Vaccine Claim Scheme following extensive consultation to ensure a comprehensive National Scheme.

The Scheme will provide Australians with quick access to compensation for COVID-19 claims related to the administration of a Therapeutic Goods Administration approved COVID-19 vaccine delivered through a Commonwealth Government approved program.

The Scheme will be administered by Services Australia and will provide Australians with a single front door to a simple and quick administrative process for compensation. The TGA will provide guidance on recognised adverse reactions as part of their established surveillance program.

From 6 September Australians who suffer injury and loss of income due to their COVID-19 vaccine will be able to register their intent to claim from the COVID-19 vaccine claims scheme webpage.

The Scheme will cover the costs of injuries above $5,000 due to a proven adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccination. Claims will be assessed by independent experts, and compensation paid based on the recommendations.

The cost of compensation payments under this Scheme will be fully funded by the Commonwealth and is designed to help the small number of people who unfortunately experience a moderate to significant adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Scheme will be backdated to February 2021.

Mandatory vaccination for ACQSC field staff

The Australian Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission’s vaccination policy requires all field staff, including quality assessors, to be vaccinated against the seasonal flu where it is available (unless medically exempt). The Commission is updating this policy to include COVID-19.

In correspondence to approved providers on 16 August, Commissioner Janet Anderson PSM stated “as a further protection for aged care consumers and staff, the Commission is introducing the same requirement”  - for all field staff to at a minimum, a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 17 September.

Key resources to support your workers

  • Webinar series for residential aged care workers on COVID-19 mandatory vaccination – the department has held jurisdiction-specific webinars for workers in SA, TAS, NSW, QLD, ACT and NT, and VIC will be held next week. The webinars are recorded and links to the webinars will be provided to you to share with your workers as soon as possible.
  • A fact sheet is available for workers on the safety of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Pregnant women are advised to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The risk of serious outcomes from COVID-19 is higher for pregnant women and their unborn baby.
  • COVID-19 vaccines – Is it true? is available for workers providing accurate, evidence-based answers to questions about COVId-19 vaccines to share with your workforce.

Grief and trauma support in aged care: Promotional tools and translated resources including Indigenous designed content

As part of the Aged Care COVID-19 grief and trauma response package, the Government has funded expert organisations to provide free grief, trauma, dementia and advocacy support for those living, working and caring for people in the aged care sector.

This support is intended to support aged care residents, home care recipients, their loved ones, friends, families, community visitors and aged care staff during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help you share information about the free supports in your organisations, and in your communities, the following resources are available for your use. Please share the information, so that people in your community who need help can get help.

You can download and print the resources, or order in print using the resources order form. Please send the order form directly to the printers, and they will send all of the printed resources below to you at no cost.

Information to raise awareness of the supports in your organisations and communities:

Social media images (tiles) and content for you to share on your social media pages

There are multiple images for each provider/service targeted at the various audiences: aged care residents, home care recipients, families and loved ones, aged care staff, and ‘generic’

There is accompanying text that has been drafted for you to share with the images on your platforms. There is suggested content available for Facebook, LinkedIn, and twitter.

Trauma fact sheets (available across 8 languages – English, Chinese Simp, Chinese Trad, Arabic, Hindi, Filipino, Italian, Greek).

Including understating trauma, impacts of trauma, trauma loss and grief, self-care, supporting others, understanding trauma and dementia, trauma and Veterans. Targeted at:

  • older people, their families and loved ones
  • families and loved ones
  • aged care staff.

Download from the Phoenix Australia Trauma & Aged Care Support and Information hub, or order in print at no cost using the resources order form.

Grief fact sheets (available in 6 languages – English, Chinese Simp, Chinese Trad, Arabic, Vietnamese, Greek)

  • What is grief?
  • Non-death grief and loss
  • Ageing and Self compassion
  • Resilience and aged care
  • Older Australians – when grief won’t heal
  • Uncertainty and aged care
  • Grief and aged care Managers
  • Self-Care for workers.

Download from the Aged Care Grief and Bereavement Support website, or order in print at no cost using the resources order form.

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