2021 Influenza vaccinations

Whilst there was decreased influenza activity in 2020 it is still important to remain vigilant as influenza, continues to circulate in the community albeit in low numbers. If vaccination rates drop, then there is a real risk that infection rates could increase.

Influenza (flu) shots are recommended for 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.  

Visitors 

  • From 1 June to 30 September 2021 all visitors aged 6months and over, should not enter an aged care facility if they have not received a dose of the 2021 influenza vaccine, unless they meet the criteria under the exceptional and special circumstances.
  • Please read Exceptional circumstances for visiting an RACF.
  • For unvaccinated family members alternative visiting arrangements should be sourced (e.g. virtual visiting or telephone)   

Staff 

  • From 1 June to 30 September 2021 staff should not enter an aged care facility if they have not received a dose of the 2021 influenza vaccine, unless they meet the criteria under the exceptional and special circumstances.
  • This includes, but is not limited to nurses, kitchen, administration, cleaning staff, transport crews as well as any visiting volunteers or agency staff.
  • dates. For advice on essential staff who are necessary for operational purposes please see the advice on Exceptional circumstances for visiting a RACF and call the local public health unit on 1300 066 055 for a risk assessment and further advice.
  • 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.
  • Additional information

    • If a visitor or staff member is unable to receive influenza vaccine due to a medical contraindication, the Influenza Vaccine Medical Contraindication Form can be completed by their doctor or treating specialist to provide evidence.
    • Facilities must consider the latest advice from the Chief Health Officer to screen staff and visitors before entering the facility.
    • Aged care facilities should 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. 

    Policies, guidelines and fact sheets

    Current as at: Thursday 10 June 2021
    Contact page owner: Communicable Diseases