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New flu vaccine requirement

From 1 May all visitors and employees must provide proof of a current flu vaccination before they enter a Benetas aged care home. Here's what you need to know.

In response to COVID-19 the Australian Department of Health have announced that from 1 May all aged care employees and visitors must have received a flu vaccination in the current year before entering a residential aged care home.

This is part of the Australian Government’s suite of efforts to help protect heightened demands on the healthcare system and people’s access to vital treatment.

Please view the Department of Health's fact sheet for further information.

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Meeting legislative requirements

Benetas’ Influenza Monitoring Working Group are working hard to ensure our residential aged care homes comply with these new legislative requirements by 1 May. As part of this we are taking proactive efforts to ensure that all relevant stakeholders are effectively informed and guided through this change as best we can.

Our 2020 Flu Vaccination Program also offers all employees and volunteers free vaccinations in April and May, and is monitoring uptake to ensure that all employees and volunteers have up to date flu vaccinations.

 

Impact on contractors and visitors

This new requirement will also apply to any visitor or contractor who visit our homes, and as a result they too will need to provide proof of a current flu vaccination at reception upon entry.

Appropriate evidence includes:

  • A statement or record from a health practitioner; or
  • An immunisation history statement from Medicare online or Express Plus Medicare mobile app.

Vistiors will then receive a Benetas proof of vaccination card that they can use to show at reception for all future visits.

 

Exceptions

The Australian Government Chief Medical Officer has made flu vaccine exceptions for those who fall within the following categories:

  • A history of anaphylaxis reactions;
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome; or
  • On check point inhibitor drugs for cancer treatment.
 

Further information.

If you have any questions, please contact Benetas’ People, Culture and Diversity team on (03) 8803 9484, or via email at wellbeing@benetas.com.au.

Thank you for your understanding as we work to meet these new legislative requirements to maintain the health and safety of those in our care.

 

FAQs about the Flu Vaccine

Does everyone entering a residential aged care facility need to be vaccinated?

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Yes, this applies to all employees, family and friend visitors, health practitioners, volunteers, suppliers and contractors including catering, cleaning and maintenance.

What is Benetas doing to support this new need?

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Benetas’ Influenza Monitoring Working Group have reviewed internal processes to ensure that our residential aged care homes comply with these new legislative requirements. We are also taking proactive efforts to ensure that all relevant stakeholders are informed and guided through this change as best we can. Benetas’ 2020 Flu Vaccination Program further offers all Benetas employees and volunteers free vaccinations in April and May.

What is appropriate evidence of having received a current flu vaccination?

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You will need to provide proof of a formal immunisation record. This could be:

  1. A statement or record from a health practitioner; or
  2. An immunisation history statement from Medicare online or Express Plus Medicare mobile app.

How will this be administered at Benetas aged care homes?

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A visitor will need to provide reception at a Benetas aged care home with proof of their current flu vaccination upon entry. They can then keep a record of this on file to provide ease going forward and a Benetas proof of vaccination card will be given to you to show reception for future visits.

Will this requirement continue after the COVID-19 pandemic?

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This hasn’t been confirmed however, we’re preparing for this to be a continuing Government requirement for Benetas to uphold.

Are residents able to refuse vaccination?

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While the Department of Health has specified that it is important for residents to protect themselves and others from the flu, they have the right to refuse vaccinations.

Where do I get further information?

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You can review the Department of Health’s fact sheet on this matter. Alternatively, please contact the Residential Manager of the aged care home in the first instance or alternatively a member of the People, Culture and Diversity team on (03) 8803 9484, or via email at wellbeing@benetas.com.au.