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COVID-19 newsflash #37: COVID-19 vaccination update

Professional indemnity insurance

Holding professional indemnity insurance in respect to your practice is mandatory. While the ANMF members’ professional indemnity insurer has not expressed any concerns about members performing vaccination work (presuming the mandatory education and other requirements are met), we understand some other insurers have.

Private and not-for-profit aged care and vaccination

The Commonwealth Government is responsible for rollout of vaccinations to the private and not-for-profit aged care sector, both staff and residents. While this program has commenced for residents, it is not yet clear how the Commonwealth aims to achieve the vaccination of this cohort of the workforce.

The delivery of the vaccine is being coordinated through Primary Health Networks. Victoria has six PHNs:

While the vaccine is distributed via Primary Health Networks the immunisation is largely delivered by private agencies contracted by the Commonwealth Government, primarily Aspen Medical, Healthcare Australia and Sonic Healthcare and others. View national and aged care vaccination data.

ANMF is seeking meetings with representatives of Primary Health Networks to try and understand more fully how the rollout for private and not for profit aged care will be managed.

Public health sector and vaccination

The Victorian Government is responsible for the distribution of vaccines and vaccination of public sector staff, including those working in public aged care.

The latest ‘Victorian COVID-19 Vaccination Guidelines’ [PDF] can be accessed.

Almost 70,000 people have received their vaccination via almost 200 immunisers in this program so far. This is between 4000 and 4500 people a day. The Victorian Government aims to increase this to closer to 15,000 a day in coming weeks. The focus at the moment is public residential aged care and group 1a nurses and midwives, along with hotel quarantine and port of entry workers and others in 1a. View the daily state vaccination data.

ANMF continues to work with the Victorian Government representatives to ensure sufficient workforce will be available to facilitate the increased number of vaccinations, without impacting on staffing of health services generally. This must include the successful UK initiative of including the option of part-time nurses and midwives working additional shifts a fortnight for the vaccination hubs. These would be in addition to those shifts they would normally work for their health service.

ANMF has received confirmation that eligible participating employees will receive six hours pay for undertaking the online modules required to participate in the vaccine workforce. You must advise your employer that you meet you meet the below criteria. If you do not receive this payment in your next couple of pays, ANMF recommends you download and complete this template letter [Word doc]. If you do not receive a satisfactory response, then contact ANMF Member Assistance. Importantly you must:

  1. be registered with a public hospital or Torrens Health to participate in the vaccination program;
  2. have the underlying qualifications and professional registration allowing you to deliver intra-muscular vaccinations;
  3. provide your employer evidence that you have successfully completed the online training modules; and
  4. be available to deliver vaccinations.

Vaccination information and resources

ANMF has created a COVID-19 vaccination page on its website collating the key Commonwealth and Victorian government links:

Restrictions to change

Victorian COVID-19 restrictions will relax from 6pm, Friday 26 March 2021. Acting Premier James Merlino announced the changes in response to the reduced COVID-19 exposure risk and low community transmission.

Masks will no longer need to be worn in retail, although there is still a requirement to carry one at all times. Masks must still be worn on public transport, rideshare vehicles and taxis and in aged care and hospitals. The revised COVIDsafe settings also mean Victorians can have up to 100 people in their homes and outdoor public gatherings are increased to 200.