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Our aged care workforce works with vulnerable Australians every day, which is why the Federal Government prioritised them in the early stages of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. However, the rollout has progressed much slower than anticipated.

Staff in Adelaide nursing homes are at even higher risk of COVID-19 exposure due to the repatriation flights entering South Australia from India, so the government is now ensuring all staff get priority vaccinations as soon as possible.

 

How Adelaide nursing homes prepared for the first direct flight from India

With the added risk posed by the first direct flight from India during the country’s significant COVID-19 outbreak, nursing homes in Adelaide were on high alert. The Commonwealth have prioritised aged care residents and workers since the vaccine rollout began in February; however, only 30 percent of staff had received at least one dose of a vaccine by mid May.

This left many Adelaide nursing homes feeling unprotected before the expected influx of Australians from India, where COVID-19 cases were increasing exponentially. To mitigate this risk, the government broadened the eligibility criteria for the Pfizer vaccine to include all aged care workers, regardless of age. The Astrazeneca vaccine was recommended for Australians over 50 at the time, but the two doses of the vaccine must be separated by 12 weeks. By switching to the Pfizer vaccine, which only requires 3 weeks between doses, Adelaide nursing homes will be able to fully vaccinate staff sooner.

If you are looking for an aged care solution for you or a family member, we can assist you on your journey during this challenging time. Get in touch and see how our Aged Care Decisions specialists can help.

How does Adelaide manage incoming passengers and COVID-19-positive cases?

In the early stages of the pandemic, South Australia implemented mandatory hotel quarantine for international arrivals, like many other states. However, after an outbreak from a hotel in the Adelaide CBD, the state chose to house all positive cases in one place: Tom’s Court Hotel on King William Street.

Private companies have been used to provide security and nursing staff at the state’s medi-hotels, but the new dedicated hotel for positive cases is staffed by SA Health and SA Police, exclusively.

The state government improved the ability for the hotel to safely house positive cases by improving its air conditioning system and ventilation to hospital-grade standards, installed CCTV cameras and organised regular mental health and wellbeing checks.

Despite these precautions, COVID-19 has been known to escape hotel quarantine from time to time, which is why Adelaide nursing homes needed additional protection for the city’s most vulnerable people at a time when the percentage of positive cases was expected to be much higher.

 

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Why aged care staff for nursing homes in Adelaide are priorities for the COVID-19 vaccine

Aged care staff come in and out of facilities and sometimes work at multiple nursing homes and disability care facilities. The nature of the work and the vulnerability of nursing home residents increases the risk that a worker exposed to COVID-19 could cause a serious outbreak.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have witnessed multiple outbreaks in nursing homes around the country, including in an Adelaide nursing home. These outbreaks highlighted the vulnerability of residents and the ability of infections to spread quickly through our aged care homes.

Aged care staff for nursing homes in Adelaide are now at increased risk due to the influx of Australians on repatriation flights out of India. India was facing a COVID-19 crisis in April and May this year, when positive cases in Australian quarantine hotels spiked. After a national, two-week ban of flights from India at the end of April, repatriation flights for vulnerable Australians in India became a priority, with Adelaide accepting its first flight in early June.

The South Australian government has prioritised vaccinating all aged care staff for nursing homes in Adelaide to ensure South Australians are safe, the economy is strengthened and the mental health of elderly South Australians is protected.

Our aged care decisions team can answer all your questions about the current situation in Adelaide nursing homes. Call us on 1300 775 870 or complete this form to get in touch.

 

What is South Australia’s plan for boosting vaccination appointments?

Since the vaccination rollout began in South Australia, the Wayville COVID-19 vaccination clinic has offered the vaccine to eligible people. The state government has recently announced the opening of three new mass vaccination clinics and extra appointment spots at the Wayville clinic.

The new clinics will open in Gawler, Mount Barker and Victor Harbor in July 2021. The new clinics and extra capacity are expected to increase appointment availability initially by 4,800 per week and eventually increase to 6,500.

Aged care workers in Adelaide nursing homes will receive the Pfizer vaccine to ensure the workforce is fully vaccinated as soon as possible.

 

What is the federal government’s vaccination rollout plan?

The Federal Government has split the vaccination rollout plan into four phases: 1a, 1b, 2a and 2b. They have focused on vulnerable Australians first, which includes aged care residents and workers. Initially, the government anticipated completing 4 million full vaccinations by the end of March, with the entire Australian population fully vaccinated by October 2021.

Unfortunately, the vaccine rollout has progressed slower than anticpated; however, the Federal Government has revised its vaccination goals accordingly and will ramp up the rollout wherever possible. The eligibility criteria for each phase is detailed in the following table.

 

1a 1b 2a 2b
Quarantine & border workers Elderly adults aged 70 and above Adults aged 50–69 Balance of adult population
Frontline healthcare worker sub-groups Other healthcare workers Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander adults under 55  
Aged care & disability care staff Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people over 55 Other critical & high-risk workers  
Aged care & disability care residents All adults with an underlying medical condition, including disability    
  Critical & high-risk workers, including police, fire, emergency workers, defence & meat processing    

 

Phase 1b began on 22 March 2021 and we are currently in Phase 2a. However, only a percentage of people in each category has so far been fully vaccinated. As of mid-July, we have under 10% of the population fully vaccinated.

You can use the government’s interactive tool to figure out when you or your loved ones will be eligible for a vaccine.

 

Are nursing homes in Adelaide safe?

The ever-changing situation that COVID-19 brings to our lives can make choosing an aged care plan for our loved ones even more overwhelming. Aged care homes around Australia experienced serious outbreaks in the early months of the pandemic; however, the Australian Government learnt from each situation and have worked hard to improve the health and safety of nursing home residents.

Adelaide nursing homes respond effectively and efficiently to any increased risk of COVID-19 exposure and are working hard on vaccinating workers and residents quickly.

The team at Aged Care Decisions can help you find a nursing home in Adelaide, or anywhere in Australia, that is safe and meet your preferences. Complete our simple form to get in touch.

 

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