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COVID-19 vaccination rollout begins Monday

The Federal Government's COVID-19 vaccination rollout will be starting on Monday, 22 February, with Australia's most vulnerable and front line workers soon able to receive the first coronavirus vaccine dose.

The initial vaccination program will reach over 2,600 aged care facilities, and more than 183,000 residents and 339,000 staff. [Source: iStock]
The initial vaccination program will reach over 2,600 aged care facilities, and more than 183,000 residents and 339,000 staff. [Source: iStock]

Every State and Territory will have chosen facilities providing the vaccination program, including over 240 aged care facilities in metropolitan, regional, and rural areas.

Within the first phase, 1a, of the Government vaccination policy are aged care residents and staff with 600,000 people expected to get the vaccine.

The program will reach over 2,600 aged care facilities, and more than 183,000 residents and 339,000 staff.

The Government believes the full roll out to aged care facilities will take approximately six weeks. This first phase will be receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine, which requires two doses at a minimum of 21 days apart.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, says the vaccine implementation plan for aged care aims to administer vaccines to over 240 aged care facilities in more than 190 towns and suburbs in the first week.

"Vaccination for residents and staff will be made available through residential aged care facilities where they live or work, and it will be administered through an in-reach workforce provider," explains Minister Hunt.

"Healthcare Australia will be providing the vaccination workforce in New South Wales and Queensland, and Aspen Medical will be responsible for the other States and Territories.

"The Primary Health Network in each region will be supporting the Commonwealth to deliver to each of the aged care facilities in their area and the process is expected to draw from the extensive experience in delivering influenza vaccines to aged care residents."

The program will be grouping up residential aged care facilities, a maximum of eight facilities within a 30 kilometre radius, to ensure the efficient delivery of the vaccine.

Home and community aged care consumers and staff will be able to receive a vaccination from in the community. The Government says this group of people will receive this information about their situation soon.

People over the age of 70 who don't live in residential aged care will be able to go to centralised locations or medical facilities to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, when the time comes for their vaccination in Phase 1b.

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck, says the Government consulted with industry peak bodies and State and Territory Governments to make sure the program is coordinated appropriately and everyone understands their role for this program.

"The New South Wales, Victorian, and South Australian Governments will maintain responsibility for vaccinating residents and staff of the public sector residential aged care and disability care facilities in their state," says Minister Colbeck.

"It is vital residents and families understand what information is available to them as the vaccine strategy is rolled out. I would encourage residents and family members to ask if they need help understanding the vaccine program and how it will affect them.

"Importantly, the vaccine providers will be providing information about the vaccine and seeking consent from aged care residents or their substitute decision maker, to ensure they understand the risks and benefits of receiving the vaccine."

People administering the vaccine in aged care will be receiving extensive training, including the use of multi-dose vials, cold storage, and infection control.

How to get the vaccine:

You do not have to register to be vaccinated, but you may need to book online as the rollout progresses.

Aged care residents and staff will have their eligibility for the vaccine confirmed by each facility, and front line workers will need to provide a proof of occupation to demonstrate their eligibility for the vaccine.

Aged care residents and staff will be able to get the vaccines from within their aged care facility from the Vaccination taskforce.

All residents and staff will receive information from their facility or provider about the vaccinations and where they can get vaccinations, which could be at your facility or at a vaccination hub.

The Government is recommending people getting the vaccine to continue practising good hygiene, physical distancing, public gathering limits and isolate if necessary.

To get ready for the vaccine, there are three steps you can undertake:

  1. Create a myGov account which has your Medicare account linked. To create a myGov account, head to the Services Australia website

  2. Make sure your Medicare details are up to date

  3. View your immunisation history statement

Where to go

The first Pfizer hubs for priority group locations are:

NSW

  • Royal Prince Alfred Hospital 

  • Westmead Hospital

  • Liverpool Hospital

Victoria

  • Monash Medical Centre Clayton

  • Sunshine Hospital

  • Austin Health

  • University Hospital Geelong 

Queensland

  • Gold Coast University Hospital

  • Cairns Hospital

  • Princess Alexandra Hospital 

South Australia

  • Royal Adelaide Hospital

  • Flinders Medical Centre 

Western Australia

  • Perth Children's Hospital

Tasmania

  • Royal Hobart Hospital

Australian Capital Territory

  • The Canberra Hospital

Northern Territory

  • Royal Darwin Hospital

Process in aged care for residents:

  1. Facilities will advise of priority groups, locations, and roll-out plans

  2. Coordination of consent for patients

  3. Vaccination dates scheduled

  4. Vaccination doses received for use

Process for aged care workers

  1. Facilities will advise of priority groups, locations, and roll-out plans

  2. Facility schedules first and second doses

  3. A checklist including staff numbers on vaccination dates to inform dose requirements

  4. Vaccination dates scheduled

  5. Vaccination doses received for use

For more information about the COVID-19 Vaccination policy, head to the Australian Health website.

To see where the closest aged care location is to you, view the COVID-19 vaccination locations or the vaccination distribution process.

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