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COVID-19 newsflash #39: COVID-19 vaccination rollout update

Private aged care nurses and carers vaccination

From Wednesday 5 May private aged care nurses, carers and other staff are eligible to attend the Victorian Government vaccination clinics.

A survey of ANMF’s more than 15,000 private aged care nurse and personal care worker members over the Easter long weekend found 86 per cent had not yet received the vaccine despite their inclusion in the phase 1a priority cohort. Thank you to the thousands of members who responded to that survey.

In response, ANMF branches across Australia together with Federal elected representatives lobbied the Federal Morrison Government, which is responsible for the vaccination of private aged care staff, to fix the delays by asking state and territory governments to take over the rollout. The Andrews Government has now taken on the responsibility of providing access to both vaccinations through the multiple state sites.

The Victorian Department of Health’s (DoH) special vaccines bulletin issued on Friday 30 April [PDF] announced the expansion of its services to private aged care staff. Public sector residential aged care staff also have access to these clinics as well as other health service hub sites.

ANMF understands private aged care staff should have received a letter of eligibility from the department via your employers. If you haven’t been given one, use the Federal Government’s eligibility declaration form.

The state clinics will have supplies of the Pfizer vaccine for private residential aged care staff under 50 years of age. However, you must book in advance to ensure supply is available at your closest clinic.

Staff aged 50 and over should receive the AstraZeneca vaccine. In addition to the state clinics, they can also receive their vaccine through a GP.

Clinic locations and booking appointments

Melbourne: Carlton (Royal Exhibition Building), Heidelberg (Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital), Ringwood (Ringwood East Community Clinic), South Wharf (Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre), Sunshine (Sunshine Hospital) and various sites across south-east and wider metropolitan Melbourne.

Regional: Geelong (Former Ford Factory), Ballarat (Mercure Hotel and Convention Centre), Wodonga (Wodonga Community vaccination clinic), Shepparton (Shepparton Showgrounds), Traralgon (Traralgon Racecourse) and Bendigo (Bendigo Hospital).

To book an appointment, call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 – then select option 1 – option 1 – option 1 (NB: these options may change, so listen to the prompts).

Please let your colleagues know a translator is available if required by pressing option 0.

For more details about appointments and additional locations.

PPE and fit testing update

ANMF continues to meet regularly with SaferCare Victoria about PPE and other OHS matters, particularly related to COVID-19. While the current risk of COVID-19 transmission is low, we are ensuring systems are in place to eliminate or minimise risks.

Fit testing continues across Victoria. Approximately 30,000 workers – half of the initially planned tests – have been completed. All members who are required to wear a respirator as part of their work must be fit tested by their employer. If your respirator is not fitted properly even after a fit test, seek to be re-tested.

Mask requirements in hospitals will continue despite calls to relax the requirement.

PPE stockpiles are at good levels with seven million respirators in stock. Overall 150k per week are being used compared to 900k during the peak of wave two. Please ensure that you participate in your facility’s fit testing and checking program

Be Well. Be Safe

The DoH has created ‘Be well. Be safe‘, a new section of its website for healthcare and aged care workers.

This new initiative features the latest guidance, information, advice and tools on mental health and wellbeing, infection control and personal protective equipment (PPE). View the website.

Information from this hub is being sent to employers to pass on to healthcare workers.

Free tickets – soothe your ears with the Brandenburg Orchestra

Please see your email version of this newsflash for details.

Resources and helpful links to information

Victorian Government

Australian Government

Current restrictions

Current COVIDsafe settings in Victoria as of 11.59pm 9 April May 2021.