Late yesterday, DH VIC confirmed that in-home and community aged care workers are in scope for mandatory vaccination requirements as part of the CHO’s COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions. For the avoidance of doubt, the Directions will be amended shortly to clearly identify in-home and community aged care workers as in scope.

In the meantime, though, ensure that your workforce has access to information to enable them to be vaccinated and to be able to report their vaccination status to you.

Key features of the Directions:

Employer must collect, record and hold vaccination information

Vaccination information

1. If a worker is, or may be, scheduled to work outside the worker’s ordinary place of residence on or after the relevant date, the employer of the worker must collect, record and hold vaccination information about the worker.

Booking information — partially vaccinated and unvaccinated workers

2. If the employer collects information that a worker is partially vaccinated, the employer must also collect, record and hold information about whether that worker has a booking to receive, by the second dose deadline, a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine that will cause the worker to become fully vaccinated.

3. If the employer collects information that a worker is unvaccinated, the employer must also collect, record and hold information about whether that worker has a booking to receive, by the first dose deadline, a dose of a COVID‑19 vaccine that will cause the worker to become partially vaccinated

No work outside ordinary place of residence

4. On or after the relevant date, an employer of a worker must not permit a worker who is unvaccinated to work for that employer outside the worker’s ordinary place of residence.

5. For the purposes of subclause (1), if an employer does not hold vaccination information about a worker, the employer must treat the worker as if the worker is unvaccinated.

Exception — booking by first dose deadline

Despite subclause (1), an employer of a worker may, between the relevant date and the first dose deadline, permit a worker who:
a. is unvaccinated; and
b. has a booking to receive, by the first dose deadline, a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine that will cause the worker to become partially vaccinated, to work for that employer outside the worker’s ordinary place of residence.

From the Directions it would appear the following dates relate:

Relevant date :                15 October 2021
First dose deadline:         22 October 2021
Second dose deadline:    26 November 2021  

In-home and community aged care workers have priority access to COVID-19 vaccination.  
Primary care providers, including general practices and pharmacies should prioritise all aged care workers to receive a COVID-19 vaccination within 7 days of a request.  

To support your workers not yet vaccinated, we have attached a letter template which provides proof of employment as evidence of eligibility to be vaccinated as a priority Phase 1b group.  

Your workforce can get vaccinated at:
• GP clinics
• Pharmacies
• Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics (GP respiratory clinics)
• State or territory mass vaccination clinics
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Services.

Please encourage your workers to book a vaccination at a local clinic which can be found on the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder.  

Workers should bring to their vaccination appointment:
proof of age (such as a driver’s licence, passport, or birth certificate) 
proof of employment, such as the proof of employment letter, current work ID card or payslip
Medicare card if they have one.

With frequent new COVID-19 vaccine developments, it’s normal for people to have questions or concerns, and possibly feel unsure about getting a vaccine. These resources may help:

COVID-19 information for In home and community aged care recipients, workers and providers
COVID-19 vaccination information for in-home and community aged care recipients and workers
Why workers and volunteers providing in-home and community aged care should be vaccinated and let their employer know
Vaccinations for people who are pregnant or breast feeding
Goodbye COVID video series in 20 languages.

The Staff Vaccination Support Service will host a webinar on Friday 15 October at 11.30am AEDT. This webinar will address:

• Support resources such as in language, easy read and communication templates
• How to encourage staff and volunteers when vaccination is not mandatory
• Employment relations considerations
• SVSS support to providers who are seeking advice
• SVSS resources, inc #ProudtoProtect materials to celebrate success and reassure care recipients

REGISTER HERE

Be #ProudToProtect – resources and ways to get involved  

The #ProudToProtect campaign provides a vehicle for individuals and all age services organisations to show your pride in protecting yourselves, your staff and the older Australians in your care by getting vaccinated. It is also intended to reassure your care recipients, families and staff that they can have confidence in your service.  

Below are a number of resources you can share with your teams:
Poster – download, print and laminate this poster. Then you can use it to publicise your organisation’s vaccination rates, providing reassurance to care recipients, families and staff • Facebook cover image – you can use this as your Facebook cover image or use the logos below to create your own
#ProudToProtect horizontal logo and #ProudToProtect vertical logo – add these to photos you post on social media or perhaps add to staff ID badges to show they have been vaccinated

Please use the #ProudToProtect hashtag when you post your vaccine success stories on social media and the Staff Vaccination Support Service will be able to share them via LASA and ACSA social media channels.  

Employment relations support
The Staff Vaccination Support Service is in the process of updating our Employment Relations materials to be more relevant to home care providers, where vaccination is not mandated.  If you are interested in our materials more generally visit the website.  

Article re-blogged. Original by LASA.

What are your thoughts?