How the COVID vaccine applies to Aged Care and the elderly

How will the COVID vaccine be rolled out to Aged Care residents, aged care workers and the elderly? Take a look at some information from official sources.

The administrating of the COVID vaccine in Australia will start early 2021. Many people are concerned about where the Aged Care population will fit into the rollout. With seniors being one of the most at-risk groups for the COVID virus, this is understandable.

Take a look at some information about the COVID vaccine and how the process  will be rolled out across Aged Care in Australia.

What is the COVID vaccine?

According to the Department of Health, “Australia has secured an additional 20 million Astra Zeneca vaccines for onshore manufacturing and a further 11 million Novavax vaccines.”

These vaccines are expected to help Australia to fight against the COVID virus and will hopefully be complete towards the end of 2021.

The common aim of any vaccine is to invoke our  immune response to identify and clear the germs without making us sick. There are several COVID-19 vaccines being developed, and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has provisionally approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for individuals 16 years and older. The approved COVID19 are safe and effective.

When will Aged Care residents and workers receive the COVID vaccine?

According to the Australian Government, the groups that have been identified to be at a greater risk of exposure, transmission and infection of the virus will be given priority to receive the first rollout of the vaccine. These groups, including aged care residents and staff, are in grouped into Phase 1a and Phase 1b as highlighted below:

Phase 1a

  • Quarantine and border workers
  • Frontline health care worker sub-groups for prioritisation
  • Aged Care and disability care staff
  • Aged Care and disability care residents

Phase 1b

  • Elderly adults aged 80 years and over
  • Elderly adults aged 70-79 years
  • Other health care workers

The availability of vaccine doses will be through hospital sites across Australia and in residential Aged Care and disability care facilities.

As shared by the Australian Ageing Agenda, Australia has 318,000 Aged Care and disability workers and 190,000 Aged Care and disability residents. These prioritised individual receiving the vaccine will have had two administered doses at least 21 days apart commencing late February.

The Australian Government will continually “be consistent with guidance from the World Health Organisation” around the advice and the safe rollout preparations to the initial and future recipients of the COVID19 vaccines.

While getting the vaccine will be encouraged, the government has said that having it will not be compulsory.

Keep an eye out for further updates

As we have all experienced over the past twelve months, the COVID pandemic causes situations to change regularly and often with little warning.

There may still be changes to the vaccine rollout timing. If you have a family member who is in aged care or who is regularly visited by an Aged Care worker, do keep an eye out for any updated information. At KOPWA, we will continue to provide providing updates and details about the COVID19 vaccine and how to prepare yourselves in being immunised.

At KOPWA, we provide residential and at-home Aged Care. In 2021, ensuring the health and safety of our residents will be as much of a priority as ever. 

To find out more, contact KOPWA today.

References

Australian Government (website)

Cheu, S., 28 Jan 2021, “COVID jab optional for Aged Care workers”, Ageing Agenda