COVID-19 webinar for in-home and community aged care workers in South Australia

A recording of the live webinar for in-home and community aged care workers in South Australia that took place on 17 November 2021.


Welcome everyone and thank you for joining today's webinar for the in-home and community aged care workers to talk about workforce COVID-19 vaccination I’ll start by acknowledging the traditional owners and the custodians of the lands on which we are meeting today and pay my respect to elders past present and emerging I’m joining you from Ngunnawal country today in Canberra I also extend that acknowledgement to any Aboriginal or Torres strait islander people who may be watching today we'll start with just some quick introductions and housekeeping

um I’m Helen Ginsberg's I’m the first assistant secretary of the service delivery division um in the Department of health and I’ll be chairing today's webinar I’m joined by a number of panellists and my thanks to all panellists for joining us today firstly Dr Emily Kirkpatrick who's the deputy chief medical officer of the South Australian department for health and wellbeing

I will note that Dr Kirkpatrick is only available to participate for the first half of our webinar today unfortunately but we will try and ensure that that we get some questions through as we can as we run through the webinar

I’d also like to welcome Beverly Barber I’m from the COVID-19 vaccine team in the department for health and wellbeing in South Australia

Chris Friend who's joined us from the health services union welcome Chris and from the federal department of health

um Kath Hafner who is acting assistant secretary um of the of the COVID-19 aged care vaccine roll-outs branch Russell Herald who is the assistant secretary for the commonwealth home support

um branch and Rachel frost who is a director of the home care and assessments branch

um in the federal department of health

um the allocated time we have for today's webinar is one hour it is also being recorded and will be made available on the department's website

um post conclusion of the webinar

um today our focus is on mandatory COVID-19vaccination for in-home and community aged care workers in South Australia what it means and how you can get your vaccine the AHPC recently released a statement recommending mandatory vaccination for this particular workforce and all states have now issued appropriate public health orders that relate to this piece of work

um we'll take your questions after our panellists have said a few words there is a Q&A function at the bottom right hand corner of your screen through which you can submit questions.

While you think about your questions I will make a few opening remarks firstly I do want to thank all of you participating today for your continued efforts to protect senior Australians in your care throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic

I thank you for all that you do to provide essential care to street senior Australians in these very challenging times COVID-19 has been particularly hard for senior Australians and they continue to feel vulnerable to the risk of contracting the virus as frontline workers you have a very special role in both caring for and protecting some of our most vulnerable in their homes and more broadly in the community.

The good news is nationally that we have now passed some of those major milestones that we have set for vaccination and we are very much seeing the positive impact of vaccination particularly in aged care when we compare the outbreaks from last year in Victoria um to the outbreaks that we have been experiencing in New South Wales and Victoria over the past three or four months we have seen a dramatic decrease in hospitalisation and death from covert 19 in comparison to those outbreaks from last year we have also now passed the 90 first dose rate for people age 16 and over and over 80 for 12 and over are now fully vaccinated which is a remarkable achievement across the country in South Australia there are over 83 of people in the community who have received a first dose vaccine and over 70 percent are fully vaccinated I think what's most impressive though is the vaccination rate that we have achieved

um in our residential aged care workforce who would have been highly commended

um where we have achieved a rate of 99.8 of that workforce now being vaccinated

um now is the opportunity for the home care and community aged care workforce to join their residential aged care colleagues to also become world leaders in this regard vaccination does remain more important than ever as we start to open up the risk of transmission will increase and states like South Australia western Australia northern territory and Tasmania who are yet to experience those more extensive outbreaks that we've experienced on the east coast of the country will need to be prepared vaccination is a critical preventative measure in that it is critical that we continue to do all that we can to protect ourselves and those most at risk including senior Australians plus our own loved ones currently around 87 percent of home care workers and 84 of community aged care workers are reported as having received a first dose this very positive however we do need to lift these rates we want to get to 100 percent we know that many care recipients are now asking that any workers visiting their homes are vaccinated so that they can feel safe but you yourself are also protected and that's important as well the Australian health protection principle committee has recommended national mandatory COVID-19vaccination for all in-home and community aged care workers nationally and as I said earlier all states and territories have now released public health orders I do strongly encourage you to get vaccinated I’m fully vaccinated and in fact I’ve had a third dose and especially as everyone's resuming normal activities which is something that we're starting to do in the act and increasing those con that contact with others it's also important and that's particularly the purpose of this webinar is that you have answers to any questions

um that you may have and that you know how you can get priority access to a vaccine and that's the purpose of our coming together today I would now like to invite

um Beverly barber to speak on South Australia's public health direction for mandatory vaccination for in-home and community aged care workers Beverly thank you very much and thank you for the opportunity to join you today um I just um would like to first point out that for South Australia we're coming up to the 23rd of November when we open our borders and therefore very keen to make sure we have as many people vaccinated as possible by the 23rd

um the government has released a number of directions in relation to mandatory vaccination and we had one release just yesterday in relation to the education sector but for the emergency management in-home and community aged care disability support workers vaccination that direction came into effect on the 8th of November

um so what that means is that by the 30th of November people working in areas in these areas which basically people who are providing support to people with disability or providing in here in home community aged care services need to have received at least one dose of a TGA approved recognise vaccine so for disability support workers and many of you would have people that work within these areas or you may work within these areas yourself so it includes

um the assistance with daily life tasks in group or shared living arrangements

um center-based activities so group center-based activities um specialised support employment which I think is really important to note any assistance with daily personal care community nursing care and therapeutic supports and so when we look at that for in-home and community aged care workers providing services to people that then we need to look at

um those that are we're providing to that may be on a home care package that I have a commonwealth home support program

um that uh that have the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flexible aged care program in home care services and there are a number of other areas now by the 30th of November you must have at least one dose of the approved TGA vaccine and receive or have evidence that you've

um booked in for your second dose with the interval after the first dose recommended by the by ATAGI so I understand that there'll be a number of people that um may not um get to that point but I think that you know we've got plenty of time before the 30th of November I think there is a rush now

um on some of the essay health clinics to  get vaccinated from this uh from this sector I really wanted to just touch on the fact that there are so many places that you can get vaccinated now in south Australia part from your GP and your pharmacy there are

um still SA health clinics that are open and operating at Wayville at nalungat playing field site and we also have our high gate site we also have over a dozen pop-up clinics that are operating this week

um in the metropolitan are and over 20 that are operating across regional South Australia so lots of opportunities to get vaccinated the only

um people that would not be required to have a vaccination will be those that would have a medical certificate or a letter from a medical practice practitioner certifying the exemption so as I said I think it's really important that we make sure that we get vaccinated not just because we're opening the borders but just for the health and safety of our communities I am too double vaccinated but don't need to have my third shot yet but I’m sure we'll hear from

um Emily regarding um booster vaccines and the importance of getting booster vaccine and I’ll hand back to you thanks Beverly I’d now like to invite d\Dr Emily Kirkpatrick

um to talk about the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines including the boast the booster program which is now underway thank you thank you Helen and it's wonderful to be here to be able to talk through uh this direction the changes and also of course the importance of vaccination uh to keep yourself safe your community safe and also your patients safe as part of providing in-home community care and it was really pleasing that we were able to incorporate both disability and also the aged care sector as part of this direction just to provide clarity as we know there's so much crossover between the two workforces and areas and now that we do have the PPC statement out to support this that came out last week it makes it much clearer now for us to be really aligned from a national perspective and pleasing to see this when we talk around the safety of vaccines it's really important that we understand as well that we have you know three key vaccines here in South Australia nd across Australia we have the visa vaccine with the two doses given three weeks apart that's an MRNA vaccine it's one of these newer technology vaccines that we know is incredibly effective at reducing your risk of transmission of clove at 19 and also that risk of needing hospitalisation and ultimately death associated with covert 19s a very good vaccine it has gone through all those approval processes as well we get that as a common question has this been under emergency approval as with all of the vaccine it has gone through that full  TGA approval to give them the provisional status which typically sits around for a two-year period provisional status that doesn't mean that it's not a safe vaccine it is a very safe vaccine and we have to make sure that we get that information out as easily as possible out into our community and into the workers as well who we know this absolutely impacting we have the second vaccine being the modern vaccine is also one of the MRNA vaccines one of these newer vaccines and that's given four weeks apart and in South Australia typically magenta vaccines are given through pharmacies and we know that pharmacies have been critical to help us particularly in the regional rural areas where we don't have the same medical workforce to support the vaccine roll out and the final vaccine is the AstraZeneca vaccine and we know AstraZeneca still plays a very important role particularly when there are contra indications to one of the fires or the modern vaccines and that particular vaccine is given at a longer interval in time can be given up to 12 weeks between the two doses and so it's really important to emphasise the effectiveness of these vaccines to keep you safe but also to keep your patients safe it doesn't matter how much PPE you use if you're wearing a n95 mask you're doffing and donning you're potentially exposing other people when you're undergoing that process so vaccination is a is a critical tool to keeping you safe and also keeping others safe

If you unknowingly have COVID-19 and attending the workplace as you move forward we are very pleased that booster doses have now been announced so booster doses are there essentially like a third dose of the vaccine and are given six months after the second dose now we know in some cases in severely immunocompromised individuals we give that third dose earlier and it can be given at the two-month mark uh to provide that additional level of immunity now we still know that having two doses does mean that you are fully vaccinated against covet 19. so that's okay if you choose not to have your third dose you'll still be classified as being fully vaccinated and this direction for instance will still mean that you're meeting those criteria that they've talked about by the 30th of November but as we move forward and particularly the literature that we have and the evidence from other countries and Israel has been a perfect example of another country where having a third dose has proved really critical for reducing hospitalisations rates and that is why we have now had that advice through been supported through a target that we absolutely can give a third booster dose TGA approved now as a booster dose is the Pfizer vaccine now it is only the visa vaccine at this stage that we are using

um and I’m absolutely certain that um the company have done a great job making sure they were ready and it does need to go through a full process so that's why we only have the one vaccine at this point in time it's quite possible the others will also come on board with a booster vaccine third dose program but as we move forward we know it is very safe to have third dose very similar side effects that are seen but the first and the second doses a sore arm it's very common tenderness around the side headache slight fever and also some fatigue very normal symptoms in the first 72 hours after a vaccine but is important to keep you safe to have that third dose reducing that risk of hospitalisation so very pleasing to see that in South Australia we are allowing people to walk in for those appointments if they have had the first two doses it's been six months since their second they can walk in if it is less than six months you will need to seek medical advice from your GP or from your specialist around whether you can bring that dose forward based on your immune system and whether you may fit into that category of having it at a shorter interval that third dose so very pleasing that we've moved ahead with this program to keep everyone as safe as possible and as been mentioned our borders are reopening in south Australia from the 23rd so this the time to make sure that we are all protected as much as possible and protecting our most vulnerable patients who may not have as good an immune response to the clover 19 vaccine so as workers as healthcare professionals we need to do what we can to support uh in-home community care and making sure our aged care population have the best chance of not getting clove at 19 by protecting ourselves with a very safe and effective vaccine so I’ll leave it there thank you Helen thank you Emily and we'll keep moving on I’d now like to invite Kath Hefner from our aged care covert 19 vaccine branch to talk about the channels that are available to in-home and community aged care workers thanks Kath thanks Helen uh good afternoon everybody nice to be with you this afternoon today I’d just like to explain to you where you as workers and volunteers can access priority vaccinations as dr Patrick has just run us through we have the three vaccines available to all Australians now look so we have the MRNA vaccines Pfizer and Moderna as well as AstraZeneca vaccines and these are now widely available to all aged care workers regardless of age to help you receive a vaccine priority channels are available to all in-home and community aged care workers so for all of our primary care providers so that's general practices pharmacies and commonwealth vaccination clinics we have asked them to prioritise you as aged care workers if you identify yourself as an aged care worker when making an appointment you should receive a covered vaccination within seven days prioritising workers through these channels help drive up vaccinations amongst residential aged care workers and we hope to see the same outcome amongst your workforce you can get vaccinated at a GP clinic a pharmacy a commonwealth vaccination clinic or sometimes called a GP respiratory clinic and we have the state and territory larger vaccination centers that they've just ran us through and also those pop-up clinics as well in south Australia we also have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled health services all of those channels are available to you to access a vaccine now you can book your appointment through the COVID-19 vaccine clinic finder which is available on the website and you can also get dedicate you can also get a vaccine at a dedicated workforce vaccination hub there's one in Oakland’s park Marion and that's open until 6:30 pm on Friday and it's going to close at the end of this week so we really encourage you to take the opportunity to access a vaccine from that club if it's close to you we've provided the details of the hub to all aged care providers so please ask your employer if that's an option for you this week they should have the details in home and community aged care recipients can also get vaccinated at these services

While people with mobility challenges can contact their GP or pharmacist and ask to see whether it is possible to receive a home visit vaccination that's also an option for people prioritising workers through these channels is really important and we're really keen to see good uptake of people accessing the vaccines that are available to them now

Workers can also call a helpline on 1 1-800-02080 and select option four we've got a dedicated team of people that are available on that helpline that can help answer any questions you have about vaccination but also really importantly they can help you book and book an appointment so that number again is 1-800-02080 and just select option four

We've provided a letter template which provides proof of your employment that you can use as evidence to help you get priority eligibility for a vaccination appointment you can just ask your employer and that template letter is also available on our website the letter is for workers including subcontractors volunteers and students on placement to help them access a priority vaccination appointment on our website you can also find fact sheets on how to get vaccinated they're available in 20 languages so very accessible and on and they also cover off why you need to tell your employer about your vaccination status particularly important in the context of the mandatory vaccination requirements and again these are all available on

As has been mentioned last week the Australian government accepted the advice of the Australian immunisations technical advisory group on immunisations or otherwise called ATAGI that people are eligible for a booster dose six months after their second dose of a covered 19 vaccine as in-home and community aged care workers have been eligible to access a vaccine since the 22nd of march this year some of you will be eligible for a booster now and if you are eligible for a booster dose you can book an appointment at through the COVID-19 vaccine clinic finder and access one through those channels I mentioned before so it's GPs pharmacies commonwealth vaccination clinics, sometimes called GP respiratory clinics the State and Territory Clinics that we just talked about and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled health services

While it's not mandatory for workers to get a booster it is recommended when you're eligible as Dr Kirkpatrick has just set us through I’d just remind people that if you've had two doses of coping 19 vaccine you are very well protected the booster dose just gives you that further protection for you from becoming seriously ill from covered that's enough for me thanks Helen thanks Kath and I’ll now invite Russell herald and Rachel frost to provide information on the grant opportunities that are available to support workforce vaccination Russell we might start with you it looks like Russell's having difficulties connecting hear me now ken now thank you Russell so the buttons disappeared on me so I couldn't actually do anything

um so yes so in terms of the vaccination grant program we have about this we have two program or two grant opportunities across home care packages and

um commonwealth home support program so there's 20 million dollars for home care packages and 13.8 million dollars for commonwealth home support program providers now the purpose of this grant program is to support uh providers do two things essentially and that is to cover costs associated with the collection and reporting of the vaccination status of their workforce and the second thing is for providers to support activities for the workforce to go and get vaccinated now some of the things that this includes um is you know ICT to collect vaccination status but also coverage of leave costs uh like uh if for instance

um a staff member uh gets sick from the vaccination for a day like it gets um some side effects which many of us have had um and need a day to recover um and so you can get a you know cover lead costs associated with that we will also cover costs associated with um you know transport to and form a vaccination clinic uh basically anything that is reasonable to increase the workforce vaccination rate uh within um the workforce or for providers of these two program now I will say um you know specifically in my space around commonwealth home support program obviously now that public health orders cover all states and territories in South Australia now

um the you know the government will start looking at compliance around vaccination reporting and the workforce um you know whether or not we are getting that 100 status of those workers who are um who need to uh be vaccinated to cover the public health order would be compliant with it and we'll start having further some conversations with providers around adherence to those obligations um and so as workers uh I would um if you do plan on getting a vaccine and we obviously encourage that uh um having conversations with your provider about how they might be able to uh support you um in that space uh so that they can work with us to to sort of help cover costs and support everyone for the system so um we are we've got those opportunities there to support you um support your providers financially uh as it may be needed so they're essentially the grant program did you want to add anything else from the home care side thanks Russell um covered that well I would just say for the specifically for the home care grant there's funding available of up to 48 thousand dollars per provider and that's been calculated depending on the number of recipients in care and the grant actually opened on the 5th of November and closing the 28th of January but it covers expenses incurred over that full financial year from 1 July 2021 to 30th of June 2022 so it does allow providers who have been very proactive and have moved quickly to get their staff vaccinated to still be able to um be able to recoup some of those some of those costs so I would really encourage uh eligible um providers who to do that to uh as uh Russell said both support um the workforce to get vaccinated um but also to ensure that that reporting is really up to scratch and um and so that we've got those accurate uh accurate sort of data that we need um to be able to uh you know support um to let people know that they're safe um and um and be able to fire people requires as Russell has mentioned with those providers who who aren't um uh keeping up with those mandatory reporting requirements it's a really simple process so yeah encourage you to encourage your providers to have a look at that grant if they're not already thank you Russell and Rachel um and unfortunately Dr Kirkpatrick has had to leave us um at this point um we will do our best to see what questions we're able to answer in her absence but we might have to take a number of those questions on notice and post responses to some of those um separately

um Chris I’d now like to invite you to

um provide some opening comments around the importance of getting vaccinated and then we'll move through to our question and answer session

Hi everyone uh thanks very much for having me and I just wanted to start off by really acknowledging uh all of the frontline staff that are involved in the meeting today uh we know uh you guys know better than anybody else how tough the last 18 months to two years has been and I think it's absolutely uh imperative that we acknowledge the incredible work that you guys have done over the period of time because it has been really challenging but thankfully we are hopefully towards the end of that now and um and one of the key uh the key ways of moving forward is through vaccination um so you know from a union perspective we support vaccination as the absolute best way of protecting you at work and your colleagues at work and obviously also the clients and residents that you care for it's vital that everybody participates if we're able to so that we're able to get to that that point

um of making sure that everybody is protected now having said that it's really important as well that from an employer point of view that these conversations are managed in a way that is respectful and understands that there is a lot of hesitancy out there and there is misinformation in the community and so it's really important that um we do everything we can to address that respect it understand it and explain things in a way that brings people forward and um and brings people along together in a way that people are comfortable we don't want to see as much as possible

um the big stick approach I think it's much better if we can address things through conversation and education and understanding pleasingly just to reflect briefly on the what's happening in the residential side of things that has worked quite well um we've seen mandatory vaccination roll out in a number of jurisdictions uh for residential aged care over the last few months and that has has been managed uh fairly well the number of people who've been vaccinated in the residential side is really high and there's been fairly minimal disruption with the introduction of these um these sort of orders so I'm really optimistic that we'll be able to get through this well together and when we come out the other side I think we'll be a lot safer for everybody so it's a really pleasing direction that we're moving in thank you Chris and once again thank you to our panellists for their opening remarks we have a few questions um that we'll get going with to start the discussion and I am seeing a number of questions um come through so thank you continue to um feed through those questions to us I might start with Beverly in terms of some further assurance if you like around the public health directions do they also apply to volunteers and students and what kind of proof is required for workers and how do they demonstrate that proof Beverly I think you're on mute I’m on the old that old trick um so the clear answer to this if you provide services to someone that's on one of those packages and their personal services then yes you should be vaccinated under this direction now when we talk about volunteers and students some of these will be captured under um aged care or disability and we know that they they um people work in both different of those areas but yes um if you come into if you provide those services then you must be vaccinated and that doesn't make matter whether you are paid to undertake those services or not um you will be required to be vaccinated just also I remiss of me not to mention that in South Australia from the 6th of December and to go into a residential aged care facility you'll be required to be double vaccinated well and in terms of proof of vaccination I think that's um quite easy to do now through Medicare and the mygov app you can quite easily download your vaccination certificate as proof of vaccination I know I have it on my phone um so I think I would encourage people to either have it on their phone so that they can show it electronically or download it from their Medicare record thank you Beverly I might take this this next question to Chris um what if someone doesn't want to be vaccinated can they still work what are their options yeah look we would encourage anybody who doesn't want to be vaccinated to try and talk to you know their GP firstly about about why that is uh if it's a because of health reasons um and then talk to their employer about it um the short answer is once there's a enforceable public health order in place those public health orders are enforceable and if people if there's a requirement that people have uh vaccination in order to work that is a legally enforceable requirement um and you know I think there's probably been a fair bit of publicity on some challenges to those orders in various jurisdictions around the country and those orders those challenges have not been successful so there is fairly clear um you know consistent evidence that these orders are absolutely enforceable but as I said we would really encourage people before getting to the point where you're sort of boxed into a corner and it looks like there might be a question about whether your employment would continue we'd really encourage those discussions to happen early firstly with your health provider to make sure that everything is really clearly understood about any issues you might have and they can give you the best advice suited for you and then obviously as well with your employer if there continues to be a problem and as I said in my opening remarks we really encourage employers to take um an understanding approach to this and understand that there is a lot of concern in the community but at the end of the day the public health order that is in place will be impossible thank you Chris

um Beverly I’ve got another question for you here which goes to who's been included in the public health order with particular reference to the department of veterans affairs home care program noting that that hasn't been listed and that is comparable to commonwealth home support level services for DVA gold card holders and the question is there a reason that this cohort of care recipients was omitted um or have they actually been included and it's um and it's perhaps the way um I think it's the way the direction is written but I will take that one on notice and I will come back to you Helen because I think that that needs um I think it needs to be um clarified and we need to provide greater clarity in the direction on that one because as you said it's not listed thank you Beverly um a question um for Russell um

I’m a Commonwealth home support provider and and all staff are vaccinated can they claim access to the grant if vaccinations have already occurred and presumably that goes for home care providers as well yeah so the grants are retrospective in terms of costs incurred um so if oh effective from one July that is um so if a provider can demonstrate that they incurred additional expenses as of um to date as a result of vaccination reporting and you know the ongoing need uh to update the register as well as you know any activities that helped the workforce get vaccinated that is in scope for the grant opportunity so yes you're able to put in a request to cover those costs thank you Russell um Kath a question for you

um and I think you did refer to this in your opening remarks but it's a query around booster or third doses being mandatory um and so far it's only Pfizer and clarity around considerations around mandatory vaccination with booster doses

yeah thanks Helen

um and thanks for the question so yeah as I mentioned in my opening remarks booster doses aren't a mandatory requirement at this stage um just a reminder that people that have received two doses of a covered 19 vaccine are very well protected um so no particular mandatory requirements around booster doses at this stage um and I guess if it was a consideration we would certainly be signaling that to the sector very early but yet certainly not a mandatory vaccination requirement at this time thanks Kathy and there's a couple of questions here which go to clients vaccination status and requirements around that um so do providers need to keep records of clients vaccination status um and should they be asking um clients around their vaccination status thanks Helen so um as most providers that are joining us today would know that they do have obligations to keep records and report to the department about the what you know the vaccination status of their workers there's no um requirement under our uh our framework to keep records of clients vaccination status or to ask them I think that that is a matter for an individual provider um just as we know that some clients are concerned about the vaccination status of people providing them care and services also the people that are providing care and services that also have similar similar concerns so but at the moment no no requirements under our um under our settings to either ask those questions or maintain any records thanks Kath and I’m also going to direct the next question to you as well which goes to the reporting requirements for providers to demonstrate that they have complied so the question has gone to commonwealth home support providers but um equally again applies to home care providers so if you could set out for us um what those reporting requirements are and the approaches to that thanks kev thanks so um uh the reporting obligations that we have had in place is to really report to us the number of workers at your service um and uh of those the number of workers that have received a first dose of the covered 19 vaccine and the number of workers that have received up until yesterday all required doses we have just um released some changes to the my aged care portal we've got some comms coming out to the sector this afternoon about that but in in in light of the mandatory vaccination requirements that have been established now in each state and territory and we do know that there are exemptions allowable under some of those public health orders we will have the capacity in my aged care to capture information about workers that do have an exemption to receiving a covert 19 vaccine so that might be for example a temporary medical exemption or a permanent medical exemption it's worth noting though not all of the exemption categories that we do have in my aged care are relevant to all jurisdictions so you really do need to understand what is in scope of the south Australian public health order to know what exemption categories are relevant to your service um and so in addition to capturing information about people's first dose second dose and um exemption categories we also have the functionality now in my aged care to capture information about workers booster doses um so that that's just really fresh um released yesterday um so providers that were undertaking their reporting yesterday might have noticed these additional new fields and and we've updated all of our website and um fact sheets that to cover off those information and we do have some comms coming out to the sector this afternoon thanks Kath um Beverly the next question goes to you and there are a number of questions um in this space again sort of in terms of who's covered um by the directions both in terms of subcontractors volunteers and for example an example that's been given is that some members are volunteers for organisations such as community gardens men's sheds heritage listed restoration but have no association with aged care whatsoever so what's the provider's responsibility with regard to them and then a similar question goes to provision of community transport services and at times brokering taxis to deliver um the transport are those taxi drivers required to be vaccinated well I don't think the intention was to extend it to taxi drivers but I think that um from my experience working in aged care and in the disability sector I do know that there are a lot of organisation where people will come into daily contact with clients who may not provide one-on-one daily personal activities to them but may spend a great deal of time with them um and that might be assistance with you know daily tasks or um spending time in their premises um on a regular basis so um there are um it's a little bit of a gray area but I think that if you look at what the actual um direction says it is if you're providing assistance with daily life tasks if there are group and center-based activities specialist support employment type program assistance with personal activities nursing care or therapeutic support so it doesn't matter whether you're providing those services as a paid employee or whether you're providing those services as an as a volunteer you're still under this direction required to be vaccinated thanks Beverly and a question for Kathy here if a committee member of an organisation that provides in-home and community aged care has no involvement with the day-to-day running of the in-home care service do they have to provide vaccination history under the mandatory reporting legislation so that's about who we're capturing um through that mandatory reporting requirement thanks Helen um so the reporting of workers vaccination through status through my aged care uses the definition of service staff which is actually defined in aged care law and service staff is defined as including as being staff including volunteers who access or are likely to access any premises where the service occurs so that that definition any premises does does then extend to you know for example a head office that might be a central corporate type unit that that's not necessarily involved in the delivery of services to clients um but it does extend that far so that definition would ex would include you know stuff that work in a central office or undertake administration type activities so i would say that it does extend to a committee member thanks Kath um the next the next question I think um goes to Rachel and Russell which is what happens to someone's client if they can't find a worker um to replace them who who should they be contacting um around that yeah I can talk to that in terms of the CHSP home care packages but um providers should be um obviously um you know trying to assess the impact on service delivery if they do need to um stand down workers or have workers you know who can't actually continue delivering frontline services if a provider gets to a point where they're unable to provide continuity of support for a particular individual um then I would encourage them to engage uh closely with their funding agreement managers in the community grants hub because we will have activities which will and processes involved to sort of help transfer support into other providers that might have capacity um so we have uh to the extent that may be required that is or provide interim uh supports while uh providers work through these issues so uh we have processes that will allow us to flexibly manage that on the ground on an out of needs basis um but I would um I i would in the first instance be hoping that um a provider would be able to source appropriate you know additional workforce uh through their networks um to be able to provide continuity of service to clients thanks Russell sorry Rachel were you going to

um I'm just going to add to that to say um our state office network uh still can be very helpful in terms of supporting providers as Russell said that expectation that providers do have emergency care plans in place full of their care recipients but yeah looking at your own what your own search capacity is um but that there are additional options as well to uh to help providers who are really um you know at the end of their ability to be able to provide continuity of care security of Tina and our state office network can be a useful resource I would just point um people to the um really advice for home care workers that's on the health website as well if you search home care clover 19 there is a really useful fact sheet there which has got all the contacts and information which we keep up to date regularly that helps answer a lot of these questions they might have as well thanks Rachel um we've got a question in there around the assessment workforce and requirements for them to be vaccinated Kathy I wonder if you can um respond to that that question uh so the assessment workforce my understanding is outside of the scope of the framework that was announced by or released by a HPPC yesterday um just because they're under a separate I guess um engagement arrangement than than um than home care and CHSP and other in home and community aged care types so my understanding is the assessment workforce outside of the scope of the HPPC statement um Bev might wish to talk about the scope of the of the South Australian order but at a national level yeah so the um sa health takes the direction from AHPC um and that was my understanding from yesterday careful so that that was outside of the outside of the scope what I would say is that we encourage anyone who's working with a vulnerable population group and anyone in general um to be vaccinated in terms of protecting themselves protecting others and and protecting um their loved ones as well and just to add to that Helen that in South Australia we are seeing that um in terms of vaccination rates some of our most vulnerable areas of our state are the areas where we have the lowest vaccination rates so we're really encouraging people to go out and get vaccinated there are so many places that are available for people to receive a vaccination either through the commonwealth or state-run sites your GP or your pharmacy we're just encouraging people just to get vaccinated thanks Beverly um there are a few questions which which would have gone to Emily

um which would go to um a couple of sort of medically related questions one is around if you've had the AstraZeneca can you have um the booster as Pfizer I can answer that from my own personal experience which is yes my third dose which wasn't as a booster it was um you know compromised um reasons felt for that dose um was a Pfizer and I had um AstraZeneca and that was the advice of my general practitioner but of course you should seek the advice of your your general practitioner um if you do have um concerns we've got a few more questions around the collection of information and and records in particular in terms of privacy requirements and um and citing evidence if a worker has reported they are vaccinated but cannot access um the online certificate and getting the letter what's the position um if a worker is reported being vaccinated but cannot provide the evidence so I think maybe I’ll ask Chris to just reflect um around some of those privacy arrangements and and Beverly as well thank you so look you know in terms of privacy obviously anything to do with employees privacy is about the most important and so any uh any record that is provided by an employee the same as has been in many uh for many years with the regular flu backs um the privacy requirements are very similar um where there's been requirements in the past for other vaccinations in home care and aged care and other health settings the same sort of privacy requirements apply which is that medical evidence should be careful medical evidence of an employee should be kept private by the uh employer in terms of citing evidence um I think uh there's probably it's one of those things that is best dealt with through a conversation with the between the employee and the employer that so long as it can be um assured that the evidence is there um there might be a range of different methods of providing that information in the first instance i know there are some concerns with people who might not readily have access to electronic means of sharing that they might not have access to a smartphone and be waiting on their certificate to arrive in the mail so I think a little bit of common sense needs to be applied in those circumstances and as I said we really encourage people just to have those conversations but it is it is absolutely something that should be provided and treated with uh appropriate privacy absolutely agree with you Chris um privacy is very very important but I think there are lots of different ways that people can provide evidence of their vaccinations so obviously electronically through your smartphone or by downloading your certificate but then if you've been vaccinated I know that when I was vaccinated I got a little certificate to say that I had been vaccinated um i actually took a photo of it on my phone I thought how else am I going to keep a record of this but there is an opportunity there for people to provide that information um Beverly there's there's a question in here which is not directly related to vaccination but i'm wondering if we're able to to respond to it um which is in terms of um providing a contact um to clarify requirements set down in the recent sa testing and quarantine requirements as they could have an impact on workforce continuity or alternatively could there be a webinar set up to discuss these requirements with aged care and home providers yeah I will take that on notice and come back to you I’ll find the correct people to create that webinar for you and and similarly there's a question in there around fit testing of masks and grants that might be available to support again we will take that one on notice and and respond subsequently on that I think we've largely answered all of the questions um that have come through um in the in the forum um any any further that gets submitted will will take on notice and seek to respond through faqs that does bring us then to the end of today's webinar thanks to all of you who have sent through questions for our panellists thank you for also taking the time out of your day and listening to all of us as I said if we did not get to answer your questions today we'll ensure the information is available through on the website  um thanks again to Emily Beverly Chris Russell and Rachel and for joining me today a copy of the webinar will be made available on our website um for you to share with colleagues and friends and look out for future webinars on other matters and once again I encourage you all to go and get vaccinated and thank you again for continuing to support senior Australians  

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Hosted by First Assistant Secretary, Ageing and Aged Care Group, Helen Grinbergs, with panellists including:

  • Dr Emily Kirkpatrick, Deputy Chief Medical Officer / Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Department for Health and Wellbeing, SA Health
  • Beverly Barber, COVID-19 Vaccine Department for Health and Wellbeing, SA Health
  • Cath Haffner, Acting Assistant Secretary, COVID-19 Vaccine Aged Care, Department of Health
  • Chris Friend, Industrial Officer, Health Services Union (HSU)
  • Russell Herald, Assistant Secretary, Home Support Operations, Department of Health
  • Rachel Frost, Director, Home Care and Assessments Branch, Department of Health

Includes 30 minutes of Q&A with webinar participants.

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