3 November 2021
As Australia continues to navigate the evolving COVID-19 environment, the push for vaccination has been a priority focus of the Federal and State governments. The successful achievement of vaccination targets is now the most defining factor in how Australia will live with COVID-19 as a normal part of our everyday life
Prioritising residents and mandating staff vaccinations in aged care has been a critical step in alleviating the severity of COVID-19 on those infected. While residents are still able to contract the virus, the intensity of the symptoms are far less and in some cases residents who have tested positive for the virus have remained well and without any symptoms.
At the time of this newsletter over 77% of Australians 16+ are fully vaccinated. The combination of higher vaccination rates and more asymptomatic cases in the community presents both added protections as well as new challenges.
For residential aged care providers, ongoing education and vigilance with infection control measures will be essential. The greater number of asymptomatic cases that test positive to COVID-19 means there is an added imperative in having to employ enhanced screening processes that can detect a virus that can otherwise be ‘invisible’.
Health authorities and aged care regulatory bodies tasked with directing and monitoring COVID-19 policy must apply a balanced approach between minimising risk of infection to residents through extended periods of self-isolation and maintaining resident emotional and physical wellbeing. When an outbreak has been declared in an aged care facility, the period of time it remains in lockdown is determined by the local Public Health Unit (PHU) and is not a decision taken by aged care providers.
The next step is in determining the timing and frequency of Boosters. The Department of Health released information early October 2021 announcing availability of booster shots for severely immunocompromised Australians as an option to boost their protection against COVID-19.
Furthermore, a Booster program for aged care residents and staff will be in place in November. More advice on the administration of booster doses for the general population is expected to be announced.
Booster Program implementation
Allity will be organising a Booster program with in-Home clinics scheduled from November 2021 through to April 2022 to meet the needs of residents and staff in line with the 6 month timeframe from the date of vaccination.
For more information on COVID-19 Vaccinations and Boosters refer to the ATAGI clinical guidance.
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