Coronavirus (Covid 19) - Victoria Vaccination Mandate Update 8.10.21

Helpers Health Care
Coronavirus (Covid 19)  - Victoria Vaccination Mandate Update 8.10.21

Our thoughts are with all of our Members, Helpers and Five Good Friends staff who live in Victoria. 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 Authorised Workers

Recently, Public health directions have been released by the Chief Health Officer in Victoria stating requirements for authorised worker roles to obtain the COVID-19 vaccination by certain dates. Information for workers who are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 is available on the Victoria Coronavirus website.

Five Good Friends Helpers are considered authorised workers and fall under the category of 'Social and Community Service Worker'. Further details available in the public health directions here.

The directives outline from 15th October 2021 in order to attend work Helpers must provide evidence that they have:

  • received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, or
  • have a booking to receive the first dose by 22 October 2021, or
  • have a medical exemption evidenced by an authorised medical practitioner. Learn more about eligibility for an exemption here.

From 26 November 2021, Helpers will also be required to provide evidence that they have received the second dose (unless there is medical exemption) to attend work.

What does the vaccination mandate mean for Helpers?

To continue working with Five Good Friends Members, all Helpers living in Victoria must have had their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by Friday 15th October or a booking by the 22nd October and their second by 26th November. If you do not provide evidence of your vaccinations or bookings 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.

Please be assured we are doing our best to ensure this is not the case by contacting, encouraging and assisting all Helpers receive the vaccination and meet the public directive.

If you are choosing not to get the vaccination by the 15th October or cannot provide evidence of a booking before the 22nd October please advise us asap to ensure we can organise alternative Helpers and care for your Members from the 15th.

It is important we have as much notice as possible.

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 recruitment@fivegoodfriends.com.au asap. You can get your immunisation and vaccination history statement using either:

a) Your Medicare online account through myGov.

b) Medicare mobile app.

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.

Frontline care service workers can access reserved appointments for the Pfizer Vaccine. 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

From 4th-10th October, anyone aged 12 and over can walk up and get a Moderna vaccination at these vaccination centres:

  • Melton in-person vaccination clinic
  • Sunshine Hospital
  • Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
  • Royal Exhibition Building
  • Plenty Ranges Arts and Convention Centre
  • Campbellfield Ford Complex Drive-Through Vaccination Clinic
  • Latrobe University, Macleod
  • Sandown Racecourse in-person vaccination clinic
  • Frankston Community Vaccination Hub – Bayside Centre
  • Dandenong Palm Plaza

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.

Authorised Workers Permit

Helpers must complete and carry with them an Authorised Workers Permit when travelling to and from work.

As directed by the Department of Health, sole traders must issue a worker permit and sign the worker permit as both the employer and employee. As a Helper operating as a contractor on the Five Good Friends platform it is your responsibility to complete the form yourself. Five Good Friends is not your employer and is not eligible to complete or sign the form on your behalf. Full details available on the Helper Hub here.

COVID-19 Testing

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 VIC 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.