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IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ALL RESIDENTIAL AGED CARE PROVIDERS AND WORKERS

Action required

September 17 is the date for the commencement of the mandatory vaccination requirement for residential aged care workers.

The coming days are critical to ensure any workers not yet vaccinated receive their first dose, that providers update data quickly and accurately via My Aged Care, and that any authorised exemptions to vaccination, temporary or otherwise, are properly recorded.

Daily updates to My Aged Care reporting

The Department is urging all providers to ensure their My Aged Care data on workforce COVID-19 vaccinations and authorised exemptions is correct.

All data as displayed on the interactive map of worker vaccinations is as reported by the provider. If the data on the interactive map is not correct, it is because the data entered for your service via My Aged Care is not updated.

Providers are encouraged to update their My Aged Care reporting as often as possible over the coming days to ensure daily accuracy of vaccination data.

From 17 September onwards, the data you report will be used to assess your compliance with mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements as outlined in the relevant public health orders in your state or territory.

Employers should receive evidence of COVID-19 vaccination, or authorised exemption to a vaccination, from all residential aged care workers before this Friday, 17 September 2021.

Providers should keep a record of workers’ vaccination status, in line with the direction set out in the state or territory public health order.

A one-page guideline has been developed to assist providers in understanding how to accurately record vaccinations and exemptions of residential aged care workers across all facilities and has been provided to all providers and facility managers and IPC leads.

Take action now if access to a vaccine is an issue

The Department continues to work each facility to ensure a plan is in place, and support has been provided, to ensure every worker has access to vaccination prior to 17 September.

If you have any workers who are still unable to access a COVID-19 vaccine, please urgently contact your Primary Health Network or Commonwealth State Office Manager.

All facilities have been offered on-site Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination clinics delivered by Commonwealth vaccine providers, primary care providers or aged care providers for workers not yet vaccinated. Residents not yet vaccinated are also being offered a vaccination through these clinics.

Pfizer is also available to all residential aged care workers regardless of age at dedicated hubs around Australia. This includes workers who do not have a Medicare card.

Workers also can get priority access to a Pfizer vaccine at:

  • Primary Care sites, including GPs, Commonwealth Vaccination Clinic or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Service, and
  • State and territory vaccination clinics.

All facilities have received the details on the vaccination channels available to their workers.

All primary care and state or territory vaccination channels have been requested to prioritise access for residential aged care workers, and to offer an appointment within seven (7) days.

If workers have questions or need help to book an appointment, they can call the dedicated COVID-19 Vaccine Helpline on 1800 020 080 and select option 4.

Proof of vaccination

Residential aged care workers should provide evidence of their COVID-19 vaccination status to their employer before 17 September 2021.

Employers should also keep a record of workers’ vaccination status, in line with the direction set out in the relevant state or territory public health order.

What evidence can be provided?

There are two options for workers to provide evidence of COVID-19 vaccination in Australia:

  1. An Immunisation History Statement, which displays all vaccinations or medical contraindications and authorised exemptions, including COVID-19, that have been reported to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).
  2. A COVID-19 Digital Certificate, for individuals who have received all required doses of a vaccine as approved for use in Australia.

The AIR is a national immunisation register which records all vaccines given to all people in Australia.

Vaccination providers are encouraged to report COVID-19 vaccinations to the AIR at the point of service or within 24 hours, and no later than 10 working days.

If a worker urgently needs help getting proof of their COVID-19 vaccinations prior to 17 September, they can contact the AIR on 1800 653 809 – even if it’s within 10 days of them receiving their vaccination.

Services Australia will work with the vaccination provider to confirm the individual’s vaccination details and manually update their immunisation history statement.

A fact sheet is available to explain how workers can obtain their Immunisation History Statement or COVID-19 digital certificate to provide to their employer as proof of their vaccination.

What if a worker can’t provide their Immunisation History Statement by 17 September?

If a worker is unable to get a copy of their Immunisation History Statement prior to 17 September, they should:

  • advise their employer where and when they received their first dose COVID-19 vaccination, and
  • provide alternate evidence such as proof of their vaccination appointment or a signed declaration that they have received a minimum first dose.

Workers should then provide a copy of their Immunisation History Statement or show their COVID-19 Digital Certificate as soon as possible to their employer. Providers should record the worker as being vaccinated but is responsible for following up to ensure the worker provides the required proof of vaccination.

Proof of exemption

Each residential aged care provider is responsible for knowing your obligations under the state or territory public health orders on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination as they apply to your services and workforce.

Public health orders provide direction on what is deemed acceptable proof of an authorised exemption to a COVID-19 vaccine.

Providers must report the number of workers who have:

  • a permanent medical exemption authorised by a medical practitioner
  • a temporary medical exemption authorised by a medical practitioner
  • where applicable, an authorised temporary exemption from your state/territory public health authority, due to the inability to access a COVID-19 vaccine
  • where applicable, an authorised temporary exemption due to a critical workforce shortage, to maintain the provision of quality of care or to protect the health and safety of residents.

Refer to your state or territory department of health website, and public health order, for more information.

Webinars on mandatory COVD-19 vaccination

The final webinar in the recent series on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for residential aged care workers took place for Victorian workers on Friday 10 September, and is now available on the Department’s website:

Victorian Residential Aged Care webinar on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination | Australian Government Department of Health

All previous state and territory webinars can be viewed using the links below:

ACT Residential Aged Care webinar on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination | Australian Government Department of Health

Northern Territory Residential Aged Care webinar on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination | Australian Government Department of Health

NSW Residential Aged Care webinar on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination – 1 September 2021 | Australian Government Department of Health

Queensland Residential Aged Care webinar on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination – 27 August 2021 | Australian Government Department of Health

Tasmania Residential Aged Care webinar on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination – 27 August 2021 | Australian Government Department of Health

South Australian Residential Aged Care webinar on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination – 26 August 2021 | Australian Government Department of Health

Department of Health

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