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New Template for Reporting on Aged Care COVID-19 Vaccinations: A Help Sheet for Providers

3/05/22
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Since mid-2021, residential aged care providers have been required to provide weekly reports on the COVID-19 vaccination status of residents and workers. Reporting is done via a template on the My Aged Care service provider portal.

The template has been changed. From 3 May 2022 all aged care providers must use a new template. Here’s what you need to know.

 

The Major Change: Count Each Person Only Once

The changes aim to improve the accuracy of data by ensuring that each resident and each worker are counted only once. In the past, a resident who has received only two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine might be reported under both “Number of residents with one dose” AND under “Number of residents with two doses”.

Under the new form, if you double count any resident or worker, you will receive an error message when you try to save the form, and will have to amend your numbers before you can submit.

The fields in the form have been amended to make it clear where each resident and worker should be reported.

 

Overarching Issues to Bear in Mind

  • You only have to update your data if something has changed. But note that, even if vaccination status has not changed, your total number of residents or staff present in a given week may have. And everyone will have to report on 3 May 2022 because of the new form.
  • Report each resident and each worker only once.
  • “Staff” is interpreted broadly and includes all permanent, casual and agency workers.
  • Do not include residents or staff who were away for the whole of the preceding week.
  • Do not include staff who spent most of the week working at another facility (that other facility will count those staff).

 

The Fields Explained

Residents

Residential aged care providers must report each Tuesday, providing de-identified data at an outlet level via the aged care service provider portal on the:

 

1. Total number of residents at the service

This is the number of residents who were living at your aged care home in the last week. This includes people receiving respite care at your home. If a resident was away for the whole of the week (in hospital, with family etc) do not count them. If the resident was living at your home for only part of the week, count them.

This may be obvious but is worth noting: the Department of Health wants to know how many residents lived at your service in the past week, but when they ask you to report the number of residents who have received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, they don’t mean “number of residents who received a dose in the last week”; they mean: “number of residents who have ever received a dose”. The same goes for workers.

 

2. The number of residents at the service who are unwilling or clinically unsuitable to receive one or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine

This includes any resident who is unwilling or unable to receive any dose. If they are anti-vaccination and have received zero doses and are sticking to that – count them here. If they have received all primary doses and a booster but don’t want the winter dose – count them here. Also count them here if they have received two doses and then developed a condition that makes it unsafe for them to receive further doses.

What if you cannot clearly determine whether a resident is willing or unwilling to receive a dose? In a recent webinar, the Department of Health said that it could not advise about this and that this was a matter for you.

Note: this field is only for residents who are unwilling or unable. Any residents who is unvaccinated (zero doses) but willing and able to get vaccinated should be listed under field 3.

 

3. The number of unvaccinated residents at the service who are willing and clinically suitable to be vaccinated

This is the number of residents who have received zero doses but would like to get vaccinated and are medically fit to get vaccinated. Three years into the pandemic, this number is probably going to be zero for most homes. However, if you have a resident who was anti-vaccination but has recently changed their mind and has not yet been vaccinated, you would count them here.

 

4. The number of residents at the service who have received a single dose only of a COVID-19 vaccine, who are willing and clinically suitable to receive additional doses

This is the number of residents who can and will get more doses but have so far only received one. (If they can’t or won’t receive additional doses, don’t report them here. Report them at 2).

 

5. The number of residents at the service who have received two doses only of a COVID-19 vaccine, who are willing and clinically suitable to receive additional doses

This is the number of residents who can and will get more doses but have so far only received two. (If they can’t or won’t receive additional doses, don’t report them here. Report them at 2).

 

6. The number of severely immunocompromised residents at the service who have received three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, who are willing and clinically suitable to receive additional doses

For most people, the first two doses are called the ‘"primary dose’" and the third dose is called a ‘booster’. But for severely immunocompromised people, there are three primary doses.

This field counts the number of severely immunocompromised residents who can and will get more doses but have so far only received their full primary dose (three doses). (If they can’t or won’t receive additional doses, don’t report them here. Report them at 2).

 

7. The number of residents at the service who have received a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, who are willing and clinically suitable to receive additional doses (this includes all residents who have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, and for those who are severely immunocompromised a third dose, and who have also received a booster dose)

This is the number of residents who can and will get more doses but have so far only received their primary dose plus the booster. In other words, this is any resident who can and will get a winter dose but so far hasn’t had one. (If they can’t or won’t receive the winter dose, don’t report them here. Report them at 2).

 

8. The number of residents at the service who have received a winter dose of COVID-19 vaccine (this includes all residents who have had a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine who have also received a winter dose).

This is the number of residents who have had their winter dose.

 

Workers

Residential aged care providers must report de-identified data at an outlet level via the aged care service provider portal on the:

 

1. Total number of service staff providing services

This the number of staff who worked at the home in the past week. “Staff” has a broad meaning and includes all permanent, casual and agency workers as well as students on placement and administrative staff and board members (unless the admin staff or board member works entirely remotely and never enters the facility).

If a worker was away for the whole week, don’t count them. If a worker works across multiple facilities, they only count them as your worker if they spend most of their time at your facility. In other words, if a worker spent one day of that week working at your facility, and five days working at another facility, do not count them (they will be counted by the other facility).

 

2. The number of service staff who have received a single dose only of a COVID-19 vaccine

This field is unchanged and self-explanatory.

 

3. The number of service staff who have received two doses only of a COVID-19 vaccine

Note, the form does not cover severely immunocompromised staff who may have received three doses as part of their primary dose. In a recent webinar, the Department of Health suggested that staff are not obliged to mention their immunocompromised status to an employer, and it may be inappropriate for the employer to ask.

In the unlikely event that you do know that an immunocompromised staff member has received three primary doses only, report them in this field.

 

4. The number of service staff who have received one booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

This field has been clarified and is now self-explanatory.

 

5. The number of service staff with an authorised permanent exemption to a COVID-19 vaccination, or who are not required to be vaccinated, for medical reasons

See the explanation under field 6 below.

 

6. The number of service staff with an authorised temporary exemption to a COVID-19 vaccination, or who are not required to be vaccinated, on a temporary basis for medical reasons

Fields 5 and 6 cover the two most relevant exemptions. Note that you must report any permanent or temporary exemption to a COVID-19 vaccination. This could include someone who has received one dose but is exempt from the second dose. Or, if staff in your state/territory are required to have a booster, it could include a worker who has received their primary dose but is exempt from the booster.

 

7. The number of service staff with an authorised temporary exemption to a COVID-19 vaccination, or who are not required to be vaccinated, due to inability to access a COVID19 vaccine

As at May 2022, almost all aged care homes will enter zero in this field.

 

8. The number of service staff with an authorised temporary exemption to a COVID-19 vaccination, or who are not required to be vaccinated, due to a critical workforce shortage OR to maintain the provision of quality of care OR to protect the health and safety of care recipients

As at May 2022, almost all aged care homes will enter zero in this field. If this field does apply to you, you will have received instructions from the Department of Health or another relevant agency.

 

9. The number of service staff with an authorised exemption related to another category in the relevant State/Territory public health order, or who are not required to be vaccinated under the public health order

As at May 2022, almost all aged care homes will enter zero in this field.

 

Further Resources

 

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About the Author

Mark Bryan

Mark is a Legal Content Consultant at CompliSpace and the editor for Aged Care Essentials (ACE). Mark has worked as a Legal Policy Officer for the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department and the NSW Department of Justice. He also spent three years as lead editor for the private sessions narratives team at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Mark holds a bachelor’s degree in Arts/Law from the Australian National University with First Class Honours in Law, a Graduate Diploma in Writing from UTS and a Graduate Certificate in Film Directing from the Australian Film Television and Radio School.

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