Influenza (flu) shots are recommended for all residents
Flu shots are recommended for all residents annually, as they are the single most important measure for reducing the risk of serious flu for individuals and preventing flu outbreaks. The flu shot will be provided to residents free of cost. However, residents do have the right to refuse vaccinations. If a resident is unable to be vaccinated due to refusal or for medical reasons this must be clearly documented and managed appropriately.
All staff require flu shots
Flu vaccines are required for all staff working in aged care facilities (this includes but is not limited to nurses, kitchen, administration cleaning staff, transport crews as well as any visiting volunteers or agency staff). This has the dual benefit of reducing flu illness in staff members and helping to prevent the spread of flu from staff to vulnerable residents, reducing their risk of serious pneumonia, hospitalisation and death.
All Australian Government subsidised residential aged care providers continue to be required to have in place an influenza vaccination program offering staff and volunteers free access to annual influenza vaccinations at the provider’s cost.
If a staff member is unable to receive influenza vaccine due to a medical contraindication, they must provide evidence from their doctor or treating specialist. During the influenza season for staff unable to be vaccinated they must wear a mask while providing care.
Residential aged care providers may need to redeploy staff that are not able to be vaccinated. Staff should discuss with their employer.
All visitors must be vaccinated
Flu vaccination is required for all visitors to aged care facilities.
Aged care facilities are required to take all reasonable steps to ensure that a person does not enter or remain on the premises if they do not meet the influenza vaccination requirements.
Facilities should seek appropriate evidence of immunisation status from individuals seeking to enter the service. Appropriate evidence may be a statement or record from a health practitioner; or an immunisation history statement available from Medicare online or the Express Plus Medicare mobile app. Facilities should consider maintaining records to support effective administration and to substantiate their compliance with this requirement. NSW Health is taking a reasonable approach to this requirement. If a person is attempting to access the vaccine but is having supply issues, or a person is allergic to the vaccine or has a medical reason for not being able to have it, then the vaccine is not ‘available’ to them. There are only limited medical contraindications for having the vaccine and providers must seek a medical certificate or similar evidence from a medical practitioner confirming that a person cannot have the vaccine for medical reasons.
Policies, guidelines and fact sheets