Written by Anthony Black, Senior Risk Consultant & National Care Practice Leader
From 17 September 2021, COVID-19 vaccination will be mandatory for all residential aged care workers.
Residential aged care workers will be required to have received a minimum first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by this time.
It will be a condition of working in a residential aged care facility through shared state, territory and Commonwealth authorities and compliance measures.
Workers required to be vaccinated
COVID-19 vaccination will be mandatory for full time, part-time and casual residential aged care workers, volunteers engaged by the facility, and students on placement.
- anyone employed or engaged by a residential aged care facility who works on-site in a facility, such as:
- Direct care workforce (nurses; personal care workers; allied health professionals, and allied health assistants)
- Administration staff (reception; management; administration)
- Ancillary staff (food preparation; cleaning; laundry; garden; maintenance)
- Lifestyle / social care (music/art therapy); Transport drivers collecting residents from RACFs for outings
- Volunteers engaged by the RACF
- Students on placement; and
- Medical practitioners, such as general practitioners and consulting specialists, who attend and provide care to residents.
Other workers not employed directly by a facility, and who only provide in-reach services, are not required to get a COVID-19 vaccination.
Significant Penalties for Non-compliance
States are incorporating these requirements under respective Covid directions. WA is the first State to release its public orders. Penalties for non-compliance include up to $20000 for individuals and $100000 for organisations.
Providers are required to report updates on staff compliance each week.
Originally part of 1a of the Federal Government’s Vaccination Program, it was anticipated all staff would be fully vaccinated by end of March. This strategy included vaccinating staff on site (along with residents). However, this strategy has not played out and staff are now required to use local vaccinations services to obtain their vaccination. This has delayed uptake. Health Department Figures show just 34% of staff have received first immunisation. In Disability Care, this even lower.
Risks and exposures
- Governance- Provider boards and executives must ensure compliance with directives; organisations suffer significant penalties for non-compliance
- Clinical Risk – Aged care residents are at continuing significant risk from Covid. Vaccination management and uptake must form part of the clinical governance framework
- Workforce- Providers must assist with the accessibility of vaccination for residents and should be considering options to support staff to encourage uptake of the vaccination. Contingencies should be in place should adequate staff not be available from the mid-September deadline.
- Further outbreaks – all insureds must have a Covid plan in place.
For more information please email Anthony Black (firstname.lastname@example.org)