Protecting Older Australians COVID-19 : Update

Press Release: 19 March 2021

In this edition

What’s New

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine: Information on side-effects with second dose

COVID-19 vaccine information published by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) indicates that mild to moderate side-effects are more commonly reported following the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine than the first.

Residential aged care facilities and vaccine workforce providers are advised this does not change the process for monitoring and reporting adverse events. As with the first dose, residents must be monitored for at least 15 minutes following a vaccination.

Adverse events, especially unexpected or significant, should be reported to local state or territory health units or to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

New resources on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

New resources on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are now available from ATAGI. The new resources are available on the Department of Health’s website:

On 16 March 2021, the TGA issued a response on the pausing of AstraZeneca vaccinations in some countries. The TGA is in close contact with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) which is investigating the issue overseas. As at 15 March 2021, the TGA has not received any reports of blood clots following administration of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Australia. Read the TGAs full response.

Requirements of vaccine workforce providers

Vaccination workforce providers must meet strict requirements to administer a COVID-19 vaccine in each state and territory.

This includes that vaccine workforce providers must:

  • have the authority to vaccinate in their relevant state and territory, as required by their respective drugs and poisons regulations
  • undertake the Commonwealth accredited COVID-19 vaccination training modules, run by the Australian College of Nursing (ACN)
  • have a valid police check in place
  • meet requirements regarding flu vaccination in line with State and Territory requirements
  • comply with any screening processes in place at each residential aged care facility. This may include a temperature check and/or evidence of influenza vaccine.

Applications now open for residential aged care facilities to vaccinate staff

The department is seeking submissions from residential aged care facilities interested in vaccinating their residential aged care staff with the AstraZeneca vaccine. Facilities must be able to demonstrate that they have the capability and capacity to vaccinate their staff across at least five residential aged care facilities. For further information on the Request for Tender please see the AusTender website.

COVID-19 vaccine myth buster

There are new COVID-19 vaccine developments every day, so it’s normal to have questions or concerns. The Department of Health has launched a COVID-19 vaccine myth buster webpage which provides accurate, evidence-based answers to questions about COVID-19 vaccines. We encourage you to share this resource with staff, residents, their families and substitute decision-makers.

GPs join the Phase 1B COVID-19 vaccine rollout

More than 1,000 general practices will join the COVID-19 vaccination program from next week – as part of Phase 1B of Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine program. This will allow people to locate their nearest general practice providing General Practice Respiratory Clinic vaccinations and link through to their online booking system or phone number to make the appointment. Read the media release for more information.

Save the date: Aged care webinar – Friday 26 March

The department will host a webinar ‘COVID-19 vaccine rollout across aged care’ on Friday 26 March from 2pm-3pm AEST.

Panellists include Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd AM, the Department of Health’s Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer Adjunct Professor (Practice) Alison McMillan and Assistant Secretary COVID-19 Vaccine Aged Care Taskforce, Ms Lisa Peterson.

More information will be shared on the department’s website shortly.

Keep up to date with trusted information
For more information, including translated information and to subscribe to the COVID-19 Vaccines Updates, visit the COVID-19 vaccines website.

QLD: Aged Care Restrictions in Greater Brisbane

The Queensland government’s Aged Care Direction no.25 came into effect at 12pm AEDT on March 13 2021.

Visitors are restricted to enter residential aged care facilities within the Local Government Areas of:

  • City of Brisbane
  • City of Ipswich
  • Logan City
  • Moreton Bay Region
  • Redland City.

Read further information about these restrictions.

Aged Care Providers are reminded to stay up to date with advice and Directions on the Queensland Government website and to check for these updates regularly.

NSW: Updated advice for residential aged care facilities and home care services

NSW Health advice for aged care providers has been updated as at 19 March. Providers are encouraged to read the directions in full:

The key messages for this update are:

  • New Zealand was removed from the Current Areas of Concern effective 12.01am on 18 March 2021
  • Locations of concern are identified for Sydney and Brisbane arising from recent cases acquired in hotel quarantine.

Webinar: COVID-19 Response Update for Carers

The department will broadcast a webinar on Tuesday March 23 2021 to provide an update on the COVID-19 response for carers.

The webinar is part of a series on the COVID-19 response and the vaccination rollout. The panel will provide key updates and answer participants’ questions.

The panel includes:

  • Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, Professor Michael Kidd AM
  • CEO, Carers Australia, Liz Callaghan
  • Group Manager, Department of Social Services, Luke Mansfield
  • Director, Vaccine Taskforce, Department of Health, Bridget Carrick.

The webinar is open to the general public and viewers are not required to register or RSVP in advance.

Details: Tuesday March 23 2021 12.15pm- 1.15pm AEDT

Join the webinar: COVID-19 response update for Carers – 23 March, 2021


Please share this newsletter with your colleagues and workforce, particularly your communications teams and encourage them to subscribe for future updates. View past editions of the Protecting Older Australians Newsletter.


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