The Australian Government (Department of Health) has issued a new notification on 25th March 2022 containing comprehensive vaccine information. The notification includes the administration of vaccines to the vulnerable groups including a booster dose to the individuals who qualify for the same. The document also comprises vaccine recommendations that should be followed by all disability workers.

Let us now take a look at each point included in the notification that the providers of essential disability care services in Sydney and its suburbs will have to mandatorily follow, and the same is recommended for participants since this guide will help them stay safe and protected from the virus.

  • Winter Vaccination for Vulnerable Groups

The ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) has recommended an extra COVID-19 vaccine dose before winter for all vulnerable groups. This vaccine will provide better protection from severe illness, hospitalisation and even death caused due to COVID-19 during the season.

The additional vaccine should be taken by groups having severe complications or illnesses. These include

  • People over the age of 65 years
  • People residing in disability or aged care centres
  • Immunocompromised people aged 16 years or older
  • Torres Strait Islander and aboriginals over the age of 50.

The COVID-19 winter vaccine dose will be available from 4th April 2022 and people in the already mentioned category should receive the dose 4 months after they have received their first dose.

  • Annual Flu and COVID-19 Winter Dose Co-Administration

According to epidemiologists, in 2022, Australia might experience an increased number of influenza, COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. So, ATAGI has advised that the annual flu vaccination and the COVID-19 vaccination can be administered at the same time.

In this part, the options for the winter vaccination program have also been mentioned.

Primary health providers can administer both vaccines at the same time to the participants if they are eligible. Also, they will need to ensure that both vaccines are not delayed. However, if they are unable to administer the same, the participant can connect with the in-reach service.

  • Booster Dose for Disability Workers

The disability workers providing NDIS support services in Belmore and other Sydney suburbs should get a booster dose to stay up to date, as per the notification. Moreover, as per ATAGI’s guidelines provided on 16th March 2022 (also referred to in this notification), disability workers will need to have three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to stay protected from infection and severe disease.

Why Are Boosters Required for the Disability Support Workers and Participants?

Administration of boosters is recommended for disability workers as well as participants since it builds enough antibodies to bolster protection against the virus.

There is a mistaken notion among many that if they have COVID-19 once, they will not get it again. But in reality, this is not the case.

As the natural immunity wanes, the virus can re-infect again. However, as mentioned already, disability workers and participants will need to wait for 4 months post-infection to be able to receive the dose.

  • Assistance to NDIS Participants With Vaccination

Eligible providers will get payments for supporting their participants. This includes $150 for each participant they support for their first and second COVID doses and $75 for the COVID-19 booster.

With these payments, the support provider will be able to arrange appointments for the vaccination after seeking consent for the participant. Besides, they will also arrange transport to the vaccination centre in a COVID-safe way.

The providers will also need to accompany the participants which includes staying with them during the vaccination waiting time.

  • Vaccination Support to Autistic People

To assist autistic people regarding vaccines, Amaze, the peak body providing support to this group has developed a community information hub regarding coronavirus.

By taking advantage of this hub, the families of autistic people can prepare and access vaccination appointments. Besides, the hub comprises guides for healthcare workers providing care to autistic people regarding vaccines.

This guide needs to be followed by all NDIS providers and organisations providing professional aged care services in Sydney besides other suburbs until further notice.

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