Aged care COVID-19 vaccination – Communication toolkit

This toolkit provides information and material to communicate with older people, particularly aged care residents, their families and carers, about COVID-19 vaccines and oral antiviral treatments.

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Communication toolkit

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Publication date:
Publication type:
Guideline
Audience:
Health sector
Language:
English

Audience

  • Older people, their families and carers
  • Aged care residents, providers and workers

Background

Older age continues to be the biggest risk factor for severe COVID-19 illness or death. Vaccination is the best way to protect older people from severe illness, hospitalisation or death from COVID-19.

  • People aged 75 years and older are recommended a COVID-19 vaccination every 6 months.
  • People 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.
  • People 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.

Anyone else aged 18 to 64 years can consider a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine every 12 months.

If it is not known when the last COVID-19 vaccine or COVID-19 infection was, it is safe to get another COVID-19 vaccine.

The COVID-19 vaccines can be administered on the same day as the annual influenza vaccine.

The 6 month waiting period between a COVID-19 infection and vaccination is no longer required.

What’s in this toolkit

Key messages

These messages may assist you to communicate with your community and stakeholders on COVID-19 vaccines.

Talking points

  • Older age continues to be the biggest risk factor for severe COVID-19 illness or death.
  • Regular vaccinations is the best protection from severe illness, hospitalisation or death from COVID-19.
  • Advice for COVID-19 vaccinations:
    • People aged 75 years or older are recommended to receive a COVID-19 booster every 6 months.
    • People aged 65 to 74 years, and people aged 18 to 64 years with severe immunocompromise, are recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster every 12 months and are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster every 6 months based on individual health needs. This should be discussed with a doctor or pharmacist.
  • Among Australians aged 65 years or older, having a COVID-19 vaccine in the last 3 months reduced the risk of death from COVID-19 by as much as 74.9%1 compared to those who were unvaccinated. After 6 months, the risk is reduced by more than 50%.
  • For more information, see the Department of Health and Aged Care website: COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Find a COVID-19 vaccine clinic on the Health Direct Service Finder at healthdirect.gov.au/australian-health-services or call 1800 022 222 if you need COVID-19 advice.
  • Older people, their families and carers, can read about consent to make an informed decision on the COVID-19 vaccination. Consent to get a COVID-19 vaccination may be written or verbal and must be recorded by the vaccination provider.
  • The Australian Government is working with the aged care sector to ensure everyone has access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Residential aged care providers are responsible for making vaccines available to residents.
  • The Government is supporting residential aged care homes to arrange COVID-19 vaccinations with local primary health care providers such as GPs and a pharmacist.
  • Oral antiviral treatments are also available for people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
  • People aged 70 years or older should talk to their GP or nurse practitioner about:
    • whether an oral antiviral suits their health needs
    • developing a treatment plan if they test positive to COVID-19.
  • You must start oral antiviral treatments within 5 days of symptons starting or testing postive for COVID-19.
  • Antiviral treatments help stop COVID-19 infection from becoming severe.
  1. Liu B. et al (2023) ‘Effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination against COVID-19specific and all-cause mortality in older Australians: a population based studyThe Lancet, accessed 12 October 2023.

Frequently asked questions

What if I missed one of my COVID-19 vaccine doses?

Everyone aged 75 years and over are recommended to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster every 6 months. 

Anyone aged 65 to 74, and adults with severe immunocompromise are recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster every 12 months and are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster every 6 months based on individual health needs. 

I had COVID-19 last month, but my last dose was more than 6 months ago. Should I have another dose?

If you are unsure if you have had a COVID-19 infection in the past 6 months, it is safe to get a booster.

However there is not much benefit from having a COVID-19 booster soon after infection.

Who can give me a COVID-19 booster?

You can find a COVID-19 vaccine clinic and book an appointment with the Health Direct Service Finder at healthdirect.gov.au/australian-health-services.

You can get a COVID-19 vaccine from your local GP or pharmacist, or a GP or pharmacist visiting your aged care home.

Where can I find information about COVID-19 and vaccines?

See the Department of Health and Aged Care website: COVID-19 vaccines

You can also find a COVID-19 vaccine clinic and book an appointment with the Health Direct Service Finder at healthdirect.gov.au/australian-health-services or call 1800 022 222 if you need COVID-19 advice.

What do I do if I get COVID-19?

If you get COVID-19, you need to start taking oral antiviral treatments within 5 days of symptoms starting testing positive to COVID-19.

Treatment can help prevent COVID-19 from become severe. Talk to your GP or nurse practitioner to find out whether oral antiviral treatments are right for you.

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Additional COVID-19 vaccination update

It is important to ensure the safety of our community, especially older people.

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

Regular vaccination is the best protection from severe illness, hospitalisation or death from COVID-19.

Advice for COVID-19 vaccines:

  • People aged 75 years and over are recommended to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster every 6 months.
  • People aged 65 to 74, and adults with severe immunocompromise are recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster every 12 months.

The COVID-19 vaccines can be administered at the same time as the annual flu vaccine.

Book a vaccination

Information and updates about COVID-19 vaccinations are available on the Department of Health and Aged Care website: COVID-19 vaccines.

To receieve a COVID-19 vaccine :

  • speak with your doctor or pharmacist
  • book an appointment on the health direct service finder.
  • call the healthdirect helpline on 1800 022 222.

Antiviral treatments

Oral antiviral treatments are available to people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

If you are aged 70 years or older, or have a risk factor, talk to your GP or nurse practitioner about whether an oral antiviral suits your health needs

You must start oral antiviral treatments within 5 days of symptoms starting or testing positive for COVID-19.

Oral antiviralOral antiviral treatments help stop COVID-19 infection from becoming severe.

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Are you aged 75 years or older? If it has been 6 months since your last COVID-19 vaccination, it is recommended that you receive another COVID-19 vaccine booster.

People aged 65–74 years and people aged 18–64 with severe immunocompromise should also consider receiving a booster, following discussions with their doctor or pharmacist.

If you know an older person who may benefit from this information, please share it with them.

Book an appointment at healthdirect.gov.au/australian-health-services or or call 1800 022 222 for COVID-19 advice.

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