Primary Health Networks will contact all residential aged care facilities in their region to assist with flu vaccinations, the government has announced.
The program announced by Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians Richard Colbeck on Friday aims to ensure all residents and facility staff receive the influenza vaccination as soon as possible.
As part of COVID-19 related requirements announced last month, all staff, visitors, health practitioners and volunteers wishing to enter aged care facilities should be vaccinated against the flu by 1 May (read more here).
Mr Colbeck said it was important staff and residents in aged care receive flu vaccinations as the fight to combat the spread of COVID-19 continues.
“This health emergency is unprecedented and as we edge closer to winter, we want to make sure staff and residents have the protection of the flu vaccination,” he said.
PHNs will contact aged care facilities to undertake a needs assessment and coordinate influenza vaccination programs for services with an identified need.
This may include sourcing vaccines and supplying qualified vaccine administrators.
“With their considerable local knowledge and on-the-ground expertise, PHNs will deliver this essential service for the benefit of aged care workers and the Senior Australians in their care,” he said.
“The flu vaccination is an important way we can make sure people stay healthy and don’t end up in the emergency department, which could over‑burden our hospitals during the COVID‑19 pandemic,” Mr Colbeck said.
Providers urged to respond
On Tuesday afternoon the Australian Government called on services yet to respond to this needs assessment to provide this information to their local PHN as a priority.
“This activity aims to prioritise residential aged care facilities access to flu vaccine supply for their staff and vulnerable residents,” the Government said.
Find out more about the program here.
This story was updated on Wednesday