From 6 December 2021, a person must not enter a Residential Aged Care Facility unless they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. They must have received all doses of an approved or recognised vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccinations have been in place for any person working at a Residential Aged Care Facility since 17 September 2021.
This does not apply to people who have a medical exemption from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine either on a permanent or temporary basis according to the guidelines published by ATAGI, or to a child under the age of 12 years and 2 months.
A person can only be exempt from having a COVID-19 vaccination if:
- They have a medical certificate or a letter from a legally qualified medical practitioner certifying that the person:
- Has a medical exemption from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine on either a permanent or temporary basis in accordance with guidelines published by ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation).
- Has a medical exemption on either a permanent or temporary basis from receiving the preferred vaccine as recommended by ATAGI for the person’s age.
- Has an appointment to be assessed by a medical specialist or has started an assessment to determine if they have a medical exemption
- Is currently taking part in a COVID-19 vaccine trial and the receipt of another available vaccine would impact the validity of the trial.
- The certificate or letter specifies the nature of the exemption and the basis on which it applies;
- The Chief Public Health Officer or her delegate has endorsed the exemption, and
- The person provides the operator of the healthcare setting with a copy of the endorsement.
Or, the person is responding in the provision of emergency services in the event of an emergency.
Restrictions on visits
Do not visit aged care facilities if you:
- have a fever or symptoms of a respiratory infection such as a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath
You cannot enter an aged care facility if you:
- have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. You must have received all doses of an approved or recognised vaccine.
- have been directed by an authorised officer to quarantine
- have been in contact with:
- a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days
- anyone with a high temperature, fever, chills, symptoms of acute respiratory infection, or loss of taste and smell, in the last 72 hours
- A person who has not received the 2021 influenza vaccination since the 1 June 2021 due to observing the recommended waiting period between the COVID-19 and influenza vaccine is permitted to enter the Residential Aged Care Facility if they provide evidence of the COVID-19 vaccination and the date of receipt to the facility. The person must also take all reasonable steps to ensure that they receive the influenza vaccine as soon possible.
- if you have undertaken a COVID-19 test and are awaiting the test result, unless part of routine surveillance testing and are not displaying symptoms.
If you cannot visit your family and friends in a residential aged care facility, it’s important to keep in touch. Make phone or video calls, send postcards, photos or artwork or film short videos to share.