Residential aged care residents

Vaccination is the most effective protection against COVID-19. Protecting the people who live and work in residential aged care is a priority.

Residential aged care resident vaccination rates by residential aged care home are available in an interactive map and downloadable report.

Data is from the Australian Immunisation Register and is updated every Wednesday.

Why residents should get vaccinated

COVID-19 vaccination is voluntary but strongly encouraged for residents in aged care facilities. It remains the most effective protection against severe illness, hospitalisation and death from COVID-19.

For the best protection, the expert Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends an additional COVID-19 booster dose for residents in aged care facilities.

ATAGI recommends residents receive their second COVID-19 booster dose from 3 months:

  • after their initial booster dose
  • after a confirmed COVID-19 infection, if infection occurred since the person’s first COVID-19 booster dose.

For family members, friends and carers of residents in aged care, please note that the COVID-19 second booster dose:

  • is also recommended by ATAGI for all adults aged 50 years and over to reduce the risk of severe disease.
  • adults aged 30-49 years can receive a second booster dose if they choose to do so, however ATAGI advise the benefit for this age group is less certain.

If you have any concerns, please talk to your doctor or other health professional about the benefits and risks of vaccination.

How can I get my recommended COVID-19 vaccinations?

Your aged care home is responsible for ensuring you are offered the opportunity to be up to date with your COVID-19 vaccination.

You are eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster dose from 3 months after you received your initial booster dose, or 3 months after a confirmed COVID-19 infection if this occurred after your initial booster dose.

Your aged care home staff will discuss with you and your substitute decision maker, whether you consent to be vaccinated and they can assist you to complete the consent form or record your verbal consent. This needs to occur prior to the date of your vaccination.

If you are yet to receive a first, second or any booster dose, you can ask your aged care home to organise your vaccination.

Your faged care home can make arrangements at any time for you to get vaccinated with the dose you require by a visiting GP to your aged care home as soon as you are eligible within the ATAGI recommended intervals.

Which vaccine can I get?

There are currently 4 safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines available in Australia, Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca), Comirnaty (Pfizer), Spikevax (Moderna) and Nuvaxovid (Novavax) vaccines. All vaccines are highly effective at preventing death and severe illness among people who contract COVID-19.

All residents living in an aged care home are prioritised to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, including for all doses.

Residents can request to receive the Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca), Spikevax (Moderna) or Nuvaxovid (Novavax) vaccine.

The Comirnaty (Pfizer), Spikevax (Moderna) and Nuvaxovid (Novavax) are the only vaccines currently approved for booster doses in Australia.

Find out which vaccine you can receive on the Who can get vaccinated page

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines.

Providing consent

All aged care residents must provide valid consent before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

Aged care facilities are responsible for obtaining that consent:

  • Prior to the first dose, residents are asked to provide consent for both a first and second dose of a primary course of a COVID-19 vaccine. For most people this is 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • For residents who are assessed by a GP as being severely immunocompromised, a third dose may be recommended. Residents will be asked to provide consent for a third dose if this is recommended. A third dose is different to a booster dose.
  • Prior to a booster dose, residents are asked to provide consent to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Prior to a booster dose, residents are asked to provide consent to receive a COVID-19 vaccine

There are two ways your aged care home can capture resident consent:

  • written consent – using the Australian Government’s written consent form or using the aged care home's own consent form.
  • verbal consent – verbal consent must be recorded by the aged care home in a resident’s care notes, following usual practices.

Aged care providers keep a record of the resident’s consent for all doses to share with those who give the vaccine for recording on the Australian Immunisation Register. 

Consent by a guardian or substitute decision-maker

Some jurisdictions have specific requirements relevant to guardians (or substitute decision-makers) consenting on behalf of another person.

If consenting to COVID-19 vaccination on behalf of an aged care recipient, please refer to the enduring guardianship legislation in your state or territory.

Getting vaccinated before entering an aged care home

Senior Australians planning to enter an aged care home are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to their move. 

To monitor the COVID-19 vaccination status of new residents, all residential aged care facilities will follow the COVID-19 New Residence Entrance Protocol.

Is evidence of COVID-19 vaccination required?

Your aged care home will discuss with you how they will record your COVID-19 vaccination status, and you are encouraged to provide evidence of your vaccination status.

You can provide:

  • a vaccination certificate or other evidence from a vaccine provider, or
  • an immunisation history statement (this can be accessed via Medicare online or the Express Plus Medicare mobile app.)

Residents can also provide a signed declaration, a statement of vaccination history from the Australian Immunisation Register, or a record from a health practitioner.

Why does my aged care home need to know if I am vaccinated?

Your residential aged care service need to know your COVID-19 vaccination status to support you access a vaccine when you are eligible.

This will also help your aged care home to prepare, plan and respond to a COVID-19 outbreak. It will be important to know how many residents and workers have been vaccinated so that protective measures can be put in place for those who have not been vaccinated.

Resources for residents

The following resources can assist in deciding about COVID-19 vaccination:

These information sheets are available in several languages.

Last updated:

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