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.

Why residents should get vaccinated

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

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) provides advice on COVID-19 booster doses. In 2024, all adults can consider one or two COVID-19 vaccine doses depending on their age and health status.

  • All adults 75 years and older are recommended a COVID-19 vaccination every 6 months.
  • All adults aged 65 to 74 years are recommended a COVID-19 vaccination every 12 months, and can consider a dose every 6 months, based on their individual health needs. 
  • All adults aged 18 to 64 years with severe immunocompromise are recommended a COVID-19 vaccination every 12 months, and can consider a dose every 6 months, based on their individual health needs. 
  • All other adults aged 18 to 64 years can consider a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine every 12 months.

If you are unsure of your last COVID-19 vaccine dose or when you last had a COVID-19 infection, it is safe to get another.

All COVID-19 vaccines are anticipated to provide benefit to eligible people. However, the monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccines are preferred over other vaccines for eligible people.

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

Stay protected, read the frequently asked questions for aged care residents, their families and carers on COVID-19 vaccine doses.

How can I get my recommended COVID-19 vaccinations?

Your aged care home is responsible for ensuring you are offered the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

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 any  dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, you can ask your aged care home to organise your vaccination.

Your aged 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 recommended intervals.

We are no longer referring to time since previous infection or dose number.

Which vaccine can I get?

There are 3 safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines available in Australia:

  1. Comirnaty (Pfizer)
  2. Spikevax (Moderna)
  3. Nuvaxovid (Novavax).

All vaccines are highly effective at preventing death and severe illness among people who contract COVID-19.

Residents can request to receive the Comirnaty (Pfizer), Spikevax (Moderna) or Nuvaxovid (Novavax) vaccine – these are the only vaccines currently approved for COVID-19 vaccination in Australia.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines.

Providing consent

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

Residential aged care providers are responsible for organising consent.

Healthcare professionals are responsible for obtaining informed consent from or on behalf of a resident before administering a vaccine.

There are 2 ways your aged care home can capture resident consent:

  • written consent – using the aged care home's own consent form or a consent form provided by the relevant healthcare professional
  • 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.

Read frequently asked questions on providing informed consent for COVID-19 vaccinations.

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

Older people 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 homes 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 home needs to know your COVID-19 vaccination status to support you accessing 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:

Some information sheets are available in several languages.

Date last updated:

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