Aged Care

Aged care workers eligible for COVID-19 leave grants


The Albanese Government expands access to antiviral treatment and offers COVID-19 leave grants to protect older Australians.

As we head into the colder months, protecting the elderly from COVID-19 becomes more important than ever. That’s why the Albanese Government has expanded access to the antiviral treatment Paxlovid for those aged 60 to 69 with one risk factor for severe illness.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Mark Butler, said that the latest vaccine can now be used to top up protection if it has been six months since the last COVID vaccine or infection.

“If you’re newly-eligible for the oral antiviral Paxlovid, I encourage you to talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner and develop a plan for if you test positive,” Butler said.

But that’s not all – over one million Australians have already received their 2023 booster dose, with 7 in 10 of those being aged 60 and over. The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has advised that all adults can top up their protection with the latest vaccine if it has been six months since their last dose or infection, irrespective of how many other doses they have had.

But what about aged care workers?

Starting April 1, the Aged Care Worker COVID-19 leave grants will be available to support those caring for older Australians most at risk. This includes permanent or casual aged care workers who have no leave entitlements available and are required to take leave related to COVID-19.

The grants will help protect people living in residential aged care or those receiving home care packages by allowing staff who test positive for COVID-19 to stay home while unwell. Providers of Australian Government-funded residential aged care homes and approved home care packages will be able to apply for reimbursement for payments made from 1 April 2023, every three months through the Department of Health and Aged Care.

As we learn from the lessons of the fourth wave of the Omicron variant, it’s clear that our focus should continue to be on improving health outcomes for those at greatest risk of severe illness from COVID-19, including older Australians, those with disability, those with complex pre-existing medical conditions, and the immune-compromised.

The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, released a report on the fourth wave, which ended in late February, noting that it was longer than previous waves but led to less severe illness than the third wave in winter 2022.


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