COVID-19 vaccination information for residential aged care providers

Providers play a key role in ensuring their residents and workers can access COVID-19 vaccinations safely and easily.


Older age continues to be the biggest risk factor for severe COVID-19 disease. 

Vaccination reduces the risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and death from COVID-19. Residential aged care homes are responsible for ensuring residents have access to the recommended vaccinations as soon as they are eligible.

COVID-19 vaccines continue to be principally administered in residential aged care homes by primary care providers such as general practitioners and pharmacists.

You can book an appointment for any COVID-19 vaccination through the healthdirect Service Finder.

COVID-19 vaccination recommendations

Adults should consider COVID-19 vaccination depending on their age and health status.

Staff and residents don’t have to wait 6 months since their last COVID-19 infection to get a vaccination. 

  • 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.

Our COVID-19 booster eligibility checker allows individuals to answer a short set of questions to find out if they are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. This tool is not intended to replace medical advice.

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.

Engage with your Primary Health Network

Residential aged care homes are encouraged to engage with your PHN for help to secure a primary care vaccination provider if you do not have an existing GP or pharmacist available.

Primary Health Networks (PHNs) will continue to receive funding under the Vulnerable Vaccination Program to develop and implement innovative, short-term COVID-19 vaccination activities. PHNs tailor these activities to the needs of priority populations in their regions, including aged care. This allows PHNs to partner with primary care vaccination providers, local organisations and service providers to protect those most at risk from COVID-19.

Additional help for aged care can be provided through the Vaccine Administration Partners Program (VAPP). The VAPP will deliver COVID-19 vaccine in-reach clinics in residential aged care homes in circumstances where there is a clear gap in provision of services by primary care providers.

If you have any questions, please email us.

How to support resident and worker vaccination

As a provider of residential aged care services, you have an important role in ensuring your residents and workers are protected against serious illness, hospitalisation or death from COVID-19. This includes promoting the benefits and facilitating timely access to influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations to both residents and staff. 

Read more about the Quality Standards.


Providers should support residents who are not yet vaccinated or are eligible for their next vaccination, to get vaccinated as quickly and safely as possible. Residents can receive a vaccination from a GP or pharmacist visiting your aged care home. 

Talk to your PHN if you require assistance accessing a local primary care provider.

Aged care workers

We encourage providers to print and display information for workers in staff areas about the importance of vaccinations and being up to date.

It is important that aged care providers consider COVID-19 vaccination in their COVID-19 risk management plans and consider its inclusion in occupational health programs going forward. This approach reduces risk for both residents and workers.

Preparing for COVID-19 vaccination

Residential aged care homes are responsible for:

  • preparing your aged care home and residents for vaccination
  • providing information to your residents and workers
  • discussing, organising and recording residents' consent to be vaccinated
  • maintaining records of the vaccination status of residents in line with the Records Principles 2014
  • monitoring and reporting adverse side effects.

The following resources are available to help you plan and prepare for COVID-19 vaccination at your aged care home:

How to obtain and record resident consent

As with all other vaccines, informed consent is required for each COVID-19 vaccination. Residential aged care providers, GPs, pharmacists and vaccine providers are responsible for discussing, organising and recording consent from residents before vaccination.

You are required to support residents to consent separately to:

  • receiving vaccinations 
  • making the consent forms available to the vaccine provider.

You must keep a record of the resident's consent. This record is used to confirm consent prior to vaccination. If you are obtaining consent verbally, you must confirm if consent is being provided and record this through the usual process.

Residential aged care providers are responsible for keeping consent records for all residents.

Vaccine providers are responsible for obtaining resident consent and may ask for a copy of a resident's consent form. You can provide this on request, however, you must retain the original consent records on site.

For more information about valid consent, refer to the Australian Immunisation Handbook: Preparing for vaccination – Valid consent.

Some jurisdictions have specific requirements relevant to guardians (or substitute decision-makers) consenting on behalf of another person. Refer to relevant state and territory laws for more information.

Monitoring and reporting adverse events

Vaccination provider teams are responsible for monitoring residents and reporting serious reactions for the first 15 minutes post-vaccination. After that initial period, residential aged care homes are responsible for monitoring and reporting any serious reactions.

Side effects are usually mild and go away within 2 days. They include:

  • pain or swelling at the injection site
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • chills
  • fever
  • joint pain.

If residents experience pain at the injection site or fever, headaches or body aches after vaccination, they can take paracetamol or ibuprofen. These help to reduce the above symptoms (they do not need to take paracetamol or ibuprofen before vaccination). If there is swelling at the injection site, they can use a cold compress.

Reporting adverse events

If a resident has an immediate serious reaction or is unwell in the days after a vaccination, you can report it to:

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