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Flu vaccine requirement
Benetas follows national recommendations in ensuring that all people who enter one of our residential aged care homes have a current flu vaccination. Here’s what you need to know.
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) recommends that all available interventions should be taken to maximise flu (influenza) vaccine coverage in our aged care sector. To this end, Benetas has chosen to remain in line with the Public Health Orders applied in 2020 that recommended that people who had not been vaccinated against influenza should not be permitted to enter residential aged care homes.
The flu (influenza) poses a heightened risk for our residents in aged care, and in a COVID-19 climate, we are working hard to limit risks to our residents wherever possible. Benetas’ subsequent policy is that all of our employees, contractors, volunteers and visitors must have a current flu vaccination before entering one of our homes.
Compliance among all employees
We provide a free flu vaccine program each autumn to support this process each May, and ensure this requirement is upheld among all employees who enter one of our aged care homes. The flu shot is free for employees who participate in the scheduled vaccination program. If you decide to organise your own flu shot outside this program, then it is at your own cost.
Impact on visitors and contractors
This applies to any visitor, volunteer or contractor who visit our homes, and as a result they too will need to provide proof of a current flu vaccination upon entry.
Appropriate evidence includes:
- a statement or record from a health practitioner; or
- an immunisation history statement available from Medicare online or Express Plus Medicare mobile app.
Exemptions for visitors will only be accepted on medical grounds and must be supported by evidence from a medical practitioner. Please note that while we strongly encourage residents to be vaccinated and support their access to this, we do not require it as mandatory.
View the Australian Department of Health’s FAQs on this matter for further guidance. If you have questions before entering a Benetas aged care home, please contact the Residential Manager at the home, or alternatively email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your understanding as we work hard to protect the health and wellbeing of those in our care.
FAQs about the Flu Vaccine
Does everyone entering a Benetas residential aged care home need to have a current flu vaccination?
Yes, this applies to all employees, family and friend visitors, health practitioners, volunteers, suppliers and contractors including catering, cleaning and maintenance.
Does this apply to residents?
We strongly encourage residents to receive a current flu vaccination and support their access to this, however it is not mandatory for residents.
Does this apply to prospective residents and their tours?
Prospective residents and families taking a tour who do not have a current flu vaccination will be required to wear additional PPE during their tour.
What is appropriate evidence of having received a current flu vaccination?
You will need to provide proof of a formal immunisation record. This could be:
- A statement or record from a health practitioner; or
- An immunisation history statement from Medicare online or Express Plus Medicare mobile app.
What exemptions are provided?
Exemption for visitors will only be accepted on medical grounds and must be supported by evidence from a medical practitioner. If this applies to you, certain precautions will be taken including wearing a mask, physically distancing at all times, and meeting in a resident’s room or outside. Please note, children under the age of 12 are not expected to wear masks but without a current flu vaccination will be expected physically distance and meet in a resident’s room or outside
What exemptions are there for children?
As per Department of Health recommendations, children over the age of six months are encouraged to receive a flu vaccination. Children under this age are therefore exempted from this policy and can enter a Benetas aged care home without proof of a current flu vaccination.
What are the implications for visitors or contractors in their failure to meet this policy requirement?
If you are not able to provide evidence of either receiving the latest flu vaccine or provide proof of a valid exception, you may not be eligible to enter a Benetas residential aged care home OR we will require you to wear PPE for the duration of your visit and comply with the above precautions.
How will this be administered at Benetas aged care homes?
A visitor will need to provide reception at a Benetas aged care home with proof of their current flu vaccination upon entry. You will then receive a card with proof of your 2021 flu vaccination that you will be able to show reception at any of our aged care homes going forward until May next year.
Why does Benetas still require this when the Victorian Government removed this requirement?
In most states and territories, entry to a residential aged care home is restricted by state government to those who have a current influenza vaccination. This is because the transmission of influenza can cause severe outcomes, particularly so for people in residential aged care homes. Given the current COVID-19 climate, where the risk of contagious viruses is significantly heightened, Benetas deems this to be an important internal policy to protect those most at risk.
Will this requirement continue after the COVID-19 pandemic?
Benetas’ Executive Team has endorsed this as an ongoing Benetas policy to reduce the risk of flu transmission in our homes and protect the safety of those in our care.