Friday 22 January, 2021

We are pleased to provide an update about the COVID-19 vaccine national roll-out strategy, and how it affects members of our Southern Cross Care community.

Due to the significant global demand for a safe and effective vaccine, and initial restrictions on supply, not everyone can be vaccinated immediately. This is why authorities need to prioritise which groups have access to the vaccine first, and why the first doses will be given to people who are at higher risk.

Priority groups are chosen based on current public health, medical and epidemiological evidence on who is most likely to contract COVID-19, and who would be most at risk if they contracted COVID-19.

The good news is that the Department has confirmed that Residential Care residents and staff will be eligible to receive a vaccine in Phase 1a - the first phase in the national roll-out. This phase will include up to 1.4 million doses and is currently scheduled to commence in mid-February. Between now and then, health authorities will work closely with aged care providers, staff, residents and their families to provide further information about the vaccines, coordinate consent and confirm schedules.

We are currently awaiting further information from health authorities about when other Southern Cross Care clients and staff members will be eligible to receive a vaccine, and will pass on that information as it comes to hand.

There will be a large amount of discussion in the community and media in coming weeks as the nation prepares for the roll-out of the first vaccines. Understandably there may also be some trepidation from some about the safety of these new vaccines. Please know that the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will rigorously assess any COVID-19 vaccine application for safety, quality and effectiveness before it can be made available.

Our Emergency Pandemic Committee will be liaising closely with authorities to ensure that our organisation is well prepared to successfully participate in the vaccine roll-out. We will also ensure that members of our community will have access to the best information possible about the vaccine roll-out as it becomes available.

A copy of the Australian Government’s vaccine national roll-out strategy can be accessed here and further information about COVID-19 vaccines can be found on the Department’s website here.

For now we will continue to adapt our COVID-19 response plans based on the latest Emergency Management Directions, and advice from public health authorities. A copy of our current visitation plans for our Residential Care homes can be found here, and information on impacts to our other services can be found here.