Queensland Health Residential Aged Care Facilities (COVID-19 Vaccination) Direction
Effective from: 10:30am AEST 23 July 2021
Posted: 23 July 2021
Direction from Chief Health Officer in accordance with emergency powers arising from the declared public health emergency
Public Health Act 2005 (Qld)
On 29 January 2020, under the Public Health Act 2005, the Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services made an order declaring a public health emergency in relation to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The public health emergency area specified in the order is for ‘all of Queensland’. Its duration has been extended by regulation to 27 September 2021 and may be further extended.
Further to this declaration, l, Dr Jeannette Young, Chief Health Officer, reasonably believe it is necessary to give the following directions pursuant to s362B of the Public Health Act 2005 to assist in containing, or to respond to, the spread of COVID-19 within the community.
This Public Health Direction applies to Queensland Health employees who enter, work in, or provide services in a residential aged care facility operated by Queensland Health. The Direction sets out the COVID-19 vaccination requirements for employees and for Queensland Health.
The Commonwealth is responsible for regulating and funding aged care under the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth). The requirements set out in this Public Health Direction are intended to operate in addition to any existing requirements under the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth), including related subordinate legislation.
To the extent of any inconsistency between this Public Health Direction and a requirement under the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth), the Act applies or prevails.
Queensland Health residential aged care facilities and health service employees must comply with the Residential Aged Care Facility (No. 2) Public Health Direction and its successor and all other applicable Public Health Directions.
Separately from the requirements under Public Health Directions, under sections 362G and 362H of the Public Health Act 2005, an emergency officer (public health) can require a facility or person to comply with additional directions if the emergency officer believes it is reasonably necessary to assist in containing, or to respond to, the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
This Public Health Direction may be referred to as the Queensland Health Residential Aged Care Facilities (COVID-19 Vaccination) Direction.
This Direction applies from time of publication until the end of the declared public health emergency, unless it is revoked or replaced.
This Direction applies to all Queensland Health residential aged care facilities, operators and all health service employees engaged under the Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011 in Hospital and Health Services and the Department of Health.
Note: The requirements of the Residential Aged Care Facility (No. 2) public health direction and its successor and all other applicable public health directions also continue to apply.
PART 1 – COVID-19 VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS FOR HEALTH SERVICE EMPLOYEES
A health service employee must not enter, work in, or provide services in a Queensland Health residential aged care facility unless the employee complies with the COVID-19 vaccination requirements.
Example: an employee working in a Queensland Health residential aged care facility or an employee such as a visiting Queensland Health clinician who provides services at the facility.
The COVID-19 vaccination requirements are that by 16 September 2021, a health service employee must have received at least a first dose, and by 31 October 2021 must have received the prescribed number of doses, of a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for use in Australia or endorsed by WHO-COVAX where the employee was vaccinated overseas.
Note: health service employees in Queensland Health residential aged care facilities are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine as members of priority group 1, irrespective of the health service employee’s age.
Note: Information about the World Health Organization COVAX program and WHO emergency use listing is available here: WHO COVID-19 vaccines
Example: an employee may have already received 1 dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine before the commencement of this direction and will receive their 2nd dose by 31 October 2021. An employee obtaining an AstraZeneca vaccination after commencement of this Direction will need to receive their first dose by 8 August 2021 to ensure they can receive their second dose within 12 weeks and still comply with the COVID-19 vaccination requirements.
A health service employee in a Queensland Health residential aged care facility must notify the operator, or their nominated representative, of each Queensland Health residential aged care facility they enter, work in, or perform services in, of their compliance with the COVID-19 vaccination requirements, by providing evidence:
of having received at least their first vaccination dose by 17 September 2021; and
of having received the prescribed number of doses of their COVID-19 vaccination by 1 November 2021.
Note: A health service employee can provide evidence of vaccination in their immunisation history statement from the Australian Immunisation Register. A health service employee can obtain their immunisation history statement from the Australian Government using myGov, the Medicare mobile app or by calling the Australian Immunisation Register and requesting a statement to be posted. Information is available at: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/medicare/australian-immunisation-register/how-get-immunisation-history-statement
A health service employee who is unable to be vaccinated due to a medical contraindication or shortage of vaccinations may continue to work in a Hospital and Health Service or the Department of Health but must not enter, work in, or provide services in a Queensland Health residential aged care facility.
A health service employee must provide a medical certificate, issued by a medical practitioner, specifying the medical contraindication that makes the person unable to be vaccinated.
Despite paragraph 8, a health service employee who does not comply with the COVID-19 vaccination requirements may enter, work in and provide services in a Queensland Health residential aged care facility if the entry, work or services are immediately necessary to provide emergency care to a resident of the facility.
A health service employee must report the entry under paragraph 13 to the operator or their nominated representative as soon as is reasonably practicable.
A health service employee who does not comply with the COVID-19 vaccination requirements or the notification requirements in paragraph 10 may enter the Queensland Health residential aged care facility as a personal visitor of a resident of the facility or as a support person for a prospective resident, but must not enter, work in, or provide services as a health service employee, and must comply with all other public health directions applicable to entering a residential aged care facility.
Example – a health service employee may have a parent or friend who is a resident of the facility. The health service employee may continue to make personal visits even if they have not complied with the COVID-19 vaccination requirements. The personal visits must comply with the entry requirements in the Residential Aged Care Direction (No. 2) or its successor.
PART 2 – REQUIREMENTS FOR OPERATORS
An operator must take all reasonable steps to ensure that a health service employee does not enter, work in, or provide services in the Queensland Health residential aged care facility if the person is prohibited from doing so under this Direction.
An operator must take all reasonable steps to facilitate access to COVID-19 vaccination for health service employees including access to off-site vaccination.
An operator must ensure a health service employee who is unable to be vaccinated due to a medical contraindication or shortage of vaccinations is temporarily deployed to another work unit until this Direction is revoked.
Where paragraph 18 applies and deployment is not reasonably practicable the health service employee must discuss the situation with their line manager, and the operator or their nominated representative must consult with the local Human Resources Team for other options.
Where a health service employee does not comply with the vaccination requirements in paragraph 9 for reasons other than in paragraph 18, the operator or their nominated representative must ensure the employee does not enter, work in, or provide services in a Queensland Health residential aged care facility. The operator or their nominated representative must also consult with the local Human Resources Team regarding options for the health service employee.
An operator may apply to the Chief Health Officer for an exemption to permit one or more health service employees who have not complied with the COVID-19 vaccination requirements to enter, work in, or provide services in the facility if the operator reasonably believes this is necessary to respond to a critical workforce shortage.
PART 3 – REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
An operator or their nominated representative must keep a record, either locally or centrally, of COVID-19 vaccination reported to it by a health service employee. The information is collected and used for ensuring compliance with the Direction and to comply with Commonwealth reporting obligations related to aged care.
The information must be stored in a secure database that is accessible to authorised persons only and maintained in accordance with the Information Privacy Act 2009 and the Public Records Act 2002.
The operator or their nominated representative must notify the chief executive of the Department of Health, or their delegate, as soon as practicable of any report made to them under paragraph 14 (report of entry to a Queensland Health residential aged care facility by a health service employee who has not complied with the COVID-19 vaccination requirements).
PART 4 – EXEMPTIONS
Where requested under paragraph 20, the Queensland Chief Health Officer, Deputy Chief Health Officer or delegate may grant an exemption (with or without conditions) to an operator or health service employee or class of employees or operators to respond to a critical workforce shortage.
The Queensland Chief Health Officer, Deputy Chief Health Officer or delegate may grant an exemption to a health service employee from the COVID-19 vaccination requirements if satisfied, having regard to the need to limit the spread of COVID-19, that an exemption is appropriate due to:
compassionate grounds or exceptional circumstances; or
the proportion of residents and employees at a facility that are vaccinated.
PART 5 – OTHER MATTERS
An emergency officer (public health) can require an operator to comply with additional directions if the emergency officer believes the direction is reasonably necessary to assist in containing, or to respond to, the spread of COVID-19 within the community.
PART 6 – DEFINITIONS
Definitions used in this Direction are in Schedule 1.
PART 7 – PENALTIES
A person to whom the direction applies commits an offence if the person fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with the direction.
Section 362D of the Public Health Act 2005 provides:
Failure to comply with public health directions
- A person to whom a public health direction applies must comply with the direction unless the person has a reasonable excuse.
- Maximum penalty—100 penalty units or 6 months imprisonment.
Dr Jeannette Young
Chief Health Officer
22 July 2021
Published on the Queensland Health website at 23 July 2021 10:30am AEST
SCHEDULE 1 – DEFINITIONS
For the purposes of this Public Health Direction:
Authorised person is a person approved or permitted, either locally within a Queensland Health residential aged care facility or centrally within the Department of Health, to access the information in accordance with the Information Privacy Act 2009 and the Public Records Act 2002 and related instruments of delegation.
COVID-19 vaccination requirements see paragraph 9.
Critical workforce shortage means a sustained workforce shortage in a Queensland Health residential aged care facility that the operator considers may impact resident care or the effective operation of the facility.
Example: A critical workforce shortage may be a shortage of more than 10 per cent of staff for a sustained period of 7 days or more, however this will depend on the size of the facility and baseline staffing levels (including consideration of skills mix and rostering).
Emergency officer (public health) means an emergency officer appointed under the Public Health Act 2005.
Note: Emergency officers appointed under the Public Health Act 2005 include public health officers and police.
Health service employee means an employee engaged under the Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011 in Hospital and Health Services and the Department of Health.
Note: a health service employee who works in a multi-purpose health facility must be vaccinated if they will enter, work in, or perform services in the residential aged care portion of the facility.
Nominated representative of an operator is the person identified by the operator as their delegate for the purposes of this Direction. The nominated representative is to be readily identifiable and communicated to all health service employees within a Queensland Health residential aged care facility.
Operator means the Health Service Chief Executive of a Queensland Health residential aged care facility.
Public health officer includes an emergency officer (general), a contact tracing officer or an authorised person under section 377 of the Public Health Act 2005.
Queensland Health residential aged care facility means the following Queensland Health facilities and for a multi-purpose health service, means the aged care portion in which accommodation, and personal or nursing care or both, are provided to a person in respect of whom a residential care subsidy or a flexible care subsidy is payable under the Aged Care Act 1997 of the Commonwealth, or funding is provided under the Commonwealth Government National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program or Multi-Purpose Services Program:
|Hospital and Health Service||Facility|
|Cairns and Hinterland||Babinda Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Mossman Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Central Queensland||Baralaba Hospital Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Blackwater Hospital Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Eventide Home Rockhampton|
|Mount Morgan Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Moura Multi-purpose Health Service|
|North Rockhampton Nursing Centre|
|Springsure Hospital Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Theodore Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Woorabinda Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Central West||Alpha and Jericho Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Barcaldine Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Winton Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Darling Downs||Dr E A F McDonald Nursing Home|
|Forest View Residential Care Facility|
|Inglewood Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Karingal Nursing Home|
|Millmerran Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Mt Lofty Nursing Home|
|Texas Multi-purpose Health Service|
|The Oaks Residential Aged Care Facility|
|Mackay||Clermont Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Metro North||Brighton Health Campus (Gannet House)|
|Metro South||Redland Residential Care Facility|
|North West||Cloncurry Hospital|
|McKinlay Shire Multi-purpose Health Service|
|South West||Augathella Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Cunnamulla Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Dirranbandi Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Injune Multi-purpose Service|
|Mitchell Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Mungindi Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Quilpie Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Surat Multi-purpose Service|
|Waroona Multipurpose Centre|
|Westhaven Nursing Home|
|Torres and Cape||Cooktown Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Weipa Hospital Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Townsville||Eventide Charters Towers|
|Parklands Residential Aged Care Facility|
|Hughenden Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Richmond Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Wide Bay||Biggenden Hospital Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Childers Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Eidsvold Hospital Multi-purpose Health Service|
|Mundubbera Multi-purpose Health Service|
Resident of a residential aged care facility means a person who ordinarily resides at the facility.
Support person means a family member, friend or carer that is visiting the Queensland Health residential aged care facility. on behalf of, or to support, a prospective resident of the facility.