COVID-19 Vaccination - Phase 1B Rollout Update 23.03.21

Health Care Helpers
COVID-19 Vaccination - Phase 1B Rollout Update 23.03.21

Helpers now eligible for COVID-19 vaccination

As outlined on Friday March 20th based on information supplied by the Commonwealth Department of Health, Helpers are now eligible for vaccination under phase 1b of the vaccination roll out plan. More information on eligibility can be found here.

Is vaccination mandatory?

At this stage, the Commonwealth Government has not mandated COVID-19 vaccination. It is voluntary and free. However, the Commonwealth Government along with other State Government health departments and expert health advisors such as the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) strongly encourage vaccination.

Based on expert health advice from organisations including the AHPPC Australian governments may issue enforceable directives and public health orders in the future which specify mandatory requirements to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to work in areas with a higher level of risk. We are monitoring for these directives.

Five Good Friends Position

As we work with vulnerable members of our community and have an obligation to ensure the health and safety for all (Members, Helpers and Five Good Friends staff), Five Good Friends strongly recommends vaccination. We understand there may be reasons (eg: medical) that prevent vaccination. If you do not intend to or believe you cannot be vaccinated please contact your Helper Co-ordinator on 07 3532 0796.

Where can I be vaccinated?

Your nearest vaccination service can be located by completing the Eligibility Checker. The final screen provides a search option based on location. You can make bookings directly. The Government advises new service locations will continue to be added to reach the goal of 4000 sites nationally.

This fact sheet also lists the general practices, Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services, and GP-led respiratory clinics as at March 16th where COVID-19 vaccinations will be available

You can also call the Commonwealth Department of Health's information line on 1800 020 080 and they will provide you with the contact details of your nearest vaccination service.

What evidence do I need to receive the vaccination?

You will need a letter from Five Good Friends, which will provide shortly, confirming you are an active care worker on the Five Good Friends Platform. Alternatively, you can complete the Eligibility Declaration Form contained in this link and use that as evidence of your eligibility.

Record of vaccination

You can get your immunisation and vaccination history statement using either:

If you’ve had a COVID-19 vaccination, you will see these recorded on your immunisation history statement.

[Please provide us your record of COVID-19 vaccination]() Once you have received the vaccine please send a scanned copy of your immunisation history record to recruitment@fivegoodfriends.com.au This will be added to your profile. We are doing this because we strongly encourage vaccination and expect Members and families may prefer Helpers in their homes who have been vaccinated.

Can I choose which vaccine I receive?

There is more than one COVID-19 vaccine available in Australia. Every vaccine approved for use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) must meet strict standards. The TGA has approved 2 COVID-19 vaccines for use in Australia, the:

  1. Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
  2. Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine.
    • The Commonwealth has stated there is no opportunity to preference a vaccine. The vaccine you receive will depend on: when and where you will be vaccinated and
    • the clinical guidelines that determine who each vaccine is safe for.

Questions about the COVID-19 vaccines

The Commonwealth Department of Health have prepared this resource to help people learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines. If you have questions or would like to learn more please visit this page.

National Centre for immunisation Research and surveillance

The National Centre for Immunisation Research also provides comprehensive information on the vaccinations. They state:

Although our ageing and disabled loved ones along with people with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk from COVID 19, anyone can get severe disease. In some people, COVID-19 may cause long-term symptoms of fatigue and breathlessness. We are still learning about other long-term complications caused by COVID-19. The virus is also easily spread by people with few or no symptoms; even if you may not become unwell with COVID-19, others you may pass on the virus to can. By vaccinating, you are protecting yourself and others from COVID-19. It is also likely that once a large amount of people are vaccinated, this will decrease the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

Flu vaccinations

Earlier this month we e-mailed you about the Sigma Healthcare and Five Good Friends FREE Flu Vaccination offer. The email contained your Flu Vaccination Voucher. The voucher is valid until 30th July 2021. If you have not received your Flu Voucher from Five Good Friends please contact theHelper Hotline on 07 3532 0796. To book, visit the Sigma Website. Given the current Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more important than ever that you protect yourself during this year’s flu season. Last year the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), advised that all residential aged care staff and visiting workers had to be vaccinated. We expect the same this year. South Australia has already taken this step. Some retirement villages operators have already mandated flu vaccinations for all visiting service providers and contractors by 1 May 2021. We will keep you updated of these locations as they become known to us. If you provide help to Members in retirement villages it is your responsibility to be aware of and follow these requirements. We would be grateful for your help in advising us if you become aware of retirement villages with such requirements.

COVID-19 and influenza vaccination timing

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has advised the preferred minimum interval between a seasonal influenza and COVID-19 vaccination available in Australia is 14 days.

We must remain diligent and vigilant

As the vaccination roll out continues we must all remain vigilant. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 such as a cough, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath or runny nose, even if these are mild, you should get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible. To arrange testing contact your GP or you can visit a COVID-19 testing clinic in your area. Please advise us immediately if you are going to be tested.

Thank you for your co-operation and remaining committed to managing COVID-19. You are doing very important work at very important time. Your health and wellbeing and that of your Members is our utmost priority.