Aged care staff who work in home care and community services are encouraged to get their COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as possible so they can increase protection for the vulnerable older Australians they care for.

There has been an overwhelmingly positive response to the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations for the 156,000 workers in the Home Care and Commonwealth Home Support programs with more than 84% having received a first dose and 73% their second dose nationwide already.

“We are proud to see our home and community care workforce step up to show that they’re #ProudToProtect the older people they care for,” LASA CEO Sean Rooney says.

“Providers have responded well to the Staff Vaccination Support Service (SVSS) campaign run jointly by aged services provider representatives LASA and ACSA to provide information and support to help encourage workers to get vaccinated during the rollout.”

There are especially high rates of vaccination among these workers in NSW (95%), VIC (96%) and the ACT (98%) where the first dose deadline has already passed. The remainder may have exemptions, but exemption reporting is only beginning this week. The deadline for the second dose for staff in VIC is 26 November, while in NSW and the ACT it is 29 November.

“The positive response by staff means that aged services providers will be better placed to manage the move towards living with COVID-19 in the community. It means peace of mind for the people receiving support in their home, or working in age services, and of course for their loved ones,” ACSA CEO Paul Sadler says.

“With increasing freedom comes the responsibility that we do everything possible to ensure that we can provide the best care and quality support services to older people.”

The mandated first dose deadline is approaching for home and community care workers in QLD (24 Nov), SA and TAS (both 30 Nov) and in WA (1 Dec).

Second dose deadlines are QLD (15 Dec), TAS (31 Dec), WA (1 January) and SA (within ATAGI recommend period depending on which first dose vaccine was given).

“This follows the success of the vaccination of residential aged care staff, where the rollout of booster shots for aged care residents and staff who had their second dose over six months ago has now commenced,” Mr Rooney says.

“The SVSS will be working with providers with lower vaccination rates to support them with strategies to increase uptake, as we did with residential aged care providers in September.”