Coronavirus (Covid 19) - NSW COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate 18.10.21
Our thoughts are with all of our Members, Helpers and Five Good Friends staff who live in NSW. A lockdown is difficult and we will continue working hard to maintain services and the safety and wellbeing of everyone.
Five Good Friends strongly encourage and support vaccination. This includes vaccination against Influenza and COVID-19. Since vaccines for COVID-19 have become available Five Good Friends has been urging all Helpers, Staff, Members and their loved ones, to get vaccinated. To ensure that Helpers have the support they need during this time, we are regularly communicating with them. Our strong belief is that vaccination is the most important thing we can do to keep our community safe.
Recent Changes announced: Vaccination Required for all Home Care Workers
Recently, Public health directions were amended in NSW stating in-home and community aged care workeres and persons providing disability support services must have received a dose or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by specified dates. Further information available on the NSW Health website here and Department of Health website here.
Five Good Friends Helpers are considered in-home and community aged care workers as they provide flexible care, home care or a Commonwealth-funded aged care service, outside of a residential care setting. Further details available in the public health directions here.
The directives outline that in order to attend work, any person who provides disability services or in-home and community aged care must provide evidence that they have:
- Recevied at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 9am on 25th October 2021.
- Received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by 9am on 29th November 2021.
- A certificate, in the form approved by the Chief Health Officer, issued by a medical practitioner, specifying a medical contraindication that makes the worker unable to be vaccinated.
What does the vaccination mandate mean for Helpers?
To continue working with Five Good Friends Members, all Helpers living in NSW must have had their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by 9am on 25th October and their second by 9am 29th November. If you do not provide evidence of your vaccination to us by these dates we are required to remove you from ALL visits until you provide this information. We will not be able to match you with any Members.
If you are choosing not to get the vaccination by the 25th October or cannot provide evidence of a medical exemption please advise us asap to ensure we can organise alternative Helpers and care for your Members from the 25th October.
It is important we have as much notice as possible to ensure your Members continue to receive essential care.
Providing evidence of vaccination
If you have already received one or both COVID-19 vaccinations and have not provided a copy to Five Good Friends, please email a copy of your immunisation record to [email protected] asap. You can get your immunisation and vaccination history statement using either:
c) If you don't have a Medicare Account there are alternatives for obtaining your record. Instructions available here.
Priority vaccination appointments
We have been supporting Helpers receive a vaccination by assisting with updating visit times and contacting Members to ensure they understand why changes to their schedule are required. Since March, we have also been providing Helpers on the Five Good Friends platform a letter confirming the important role they play in the community and their eligibility for vaccination.
All people who work in in-home and community aged care are eligible to receive a priority COVID-19 vaccination. If you are requested to provide evidence you are a care worker please use your brokerage agreement in the Five Good Friends App as proof. You can explain you are an independent contractor working in the community providing care.
Book your vaccination online here
Helper Education and Support
We have been regularly communicating with Helpers about the vaccination since the beginning of this year and trying to prepare Helpers for the possibility of mandates which we expected would be rolled out across the country. From the beginning of the pandemic, we have been regularly sharing clear, credible, and objective information from peak health, scientific and Government bodies. We have also been aware of the growing misinformation in the community.
To address this, we recently ran a webinar with Dr Paul Griffin, Head of Infectious Diseases at the Mater Hospital. Dr Griffin is one of the country’s leading experts on COVID-19 and Vaccination. We provided a link to all Helpers to encourage them to watch it. You can watch the webinar here
If you want to know more about how COVID-19 vaccines are tested and approved, the Department of Health has information and a video available on their website. The National Centre for Immunisation Research also provides comprehensive information on the vaccinations.
A range of videos for aged care workers are now available in 15 languages about how and where to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The videos also include information about COVID-19 vaccine safety and how the COVID-19 vaccines work.
Testing still remains a priority for everyone and we continue to urge Helpers, Members and Five Good Friends staff, to be vigilant in their management of COVID-19 and any symptoms. This includes cancelling visits if you have any concerns.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 such as a cough, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath or runny nose, chills or sweat, even if these are mild, please get tested as soon as possible. You can also contact the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 for advice.
The NSW Government's Coronavirus website provide a list of all current public exposure sites and the health advice to be followed if you were in attendance during the identified time period. This information can be found here.
To arrange testing you can visit a COVID-19 testing clinic in your area.
Please call your Workforce Coordinator on 07 3532 0796 to advise if you are going to be tested. You cannot work while awaiting the outcome of your test or if you are in isolation.
Thank you for your patience and understanding
We are grateful for the important work you are doing supporting our Members at such a critical time. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work with these new public health directives.
We will continue to diligently monitor the COVID-19 situation and do our best to provide safe, flexible, kind and consistent support.