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More priority groups for Phase1B of COVID-19 Vaccination Program

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Phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccine national roll-out strategy will commence on March 22, 2021. Here is what you need to know:

Who will be vaccinated under Phase 1B, based on recommendations by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation?

  • Healthcare workers currently employed and not included in Phase 1A
  • Critical and high-risk workers currently employed
  • People over 70 years old
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 55 years
  • People over 18 with an underlying medical condition, including disability

Phase 1B: Healthcare Workers

Who are the Healthcare Workers eligible for Phase 1B?

  • Individuals employed in the medical profession, including allied health professionals, aged care and disability workers
  • All public and private hospital staff
  • Healthcare workers in private practice
  • Community pharmacy staff
  • Healthcare workers providing in-home and community care, including centre-based care
  • Workforce supporting medical practitioners in a clinical setting, including students on placement
  • Onsite administrative staff in healthcare settings
  • Cleaners, kitchen staff and other ancillary staff in healthcare settings

The vaccination will take place in Phase 1B sites by appointment or Pfizer hubs if contacted by jurisdiction.

Healthcare workers will need to present proof of occupation (ID card, a letter from employer or Phase 1B Declaration Form) will be required to demonstrate eligibility.

Carers and Disability Settings 

Included in this group are:

  • Essential carers (paid and unpaid) including carers who are also family members of someone with a disability or an elderly person
  • Essential carers (paid and unpaid) including carers who are also family members of someone with disability or an elderly person
  • People with a disability attending centre-based services (e.g. day programs, supported employment).

Excluded from this list are family members of people with disability who are not carers.

The vaccination will take place in Phase 1B sites by appointment or by other arrangements.

Carers must provide documentation or proof of occupation (ID card or letter from employer/centre-based support provider). Where none of these is available, individuals may complete a Phase 1B Declaration Form.

Critical and High-Risk Workers

Included in this group are:

  • Emergency services personnel, including frontline police officers, fire and rescue personnel, corrective services officers
  • Rural Fire Service and State Emergency Service volunteers
  • Active Australian Defence Force personnel
  • Australian Government officials about to be deployed or currently deployed overseas on official government business
  • Workers involved in the manufacture of AstraZeneca vaccine and distribution/delivery of COVID-19 vaccines
  • Workers at licensed meat processing businesses

The vaccination will take place in phase 1B sites by appointment or defence to provide for ADF.

Critical and high-risk workers must provide proof of occupation (ID card, a letter from employer or Phase 1B Declaration Form) will be required to demonstrate eligibility.

Licensed Meat Processing Workers

This group involves workers directly involved in the manufacturing and distribution process, where the work is in a cold environment and workers are unable to maintain physical distancing requirement.

Included in this list are:

  • Abattoir workers, including attending veterinarians
  • Workers in boning rooms
  • Smallgoods manufacturers
  • Cold chain transport workforce
  • Seafood processing

Excluded from this group are retail workers including butcher shops, fishmongers; primary production workers including fishing, and clerical workers.

Elderly People

Elderly people over 70 and 80 years can get vaccinated on Phase 1B sites by appointment.

All standard forms of identification (drivers licence, passport) will be accepted. For individuals attending their usual GP, the clinic’s records may be relied upon as evidence.

Other forms of accepted evidence include:

  • My Health Record
  • Government issued documents with date of birth (e.g. Centrelink, Medicare, Department of Veterans Affairs)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 55 will get a chance to be vaccinated. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged under 55 who meet other phase 1B criteria, i.e. underlying medical condition, health care worker, critical or high-risk worker must abide by those criteria.

As for the general population for age eligibility, self-identification as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander at the time of vaccination, which may be verbal.

Underlying Medical Conditions

People with underlying medical conditions must provide proof for eligibility.

  • For individuals attending their usual GP, the clinic’s records may be relied upon as evidence
  • MyHealth Record
  • A referral from GP or treating specialist
  • Alternative medical records, including:
    – a printout of your medical history as recorded in your clinical records;
    -a printout of your chronic disease care plan; a discharge summary from a hospital or other
    medical facility; or
    -a valid script or medication prescribed to treat one or more of the relevant medical conditions
  • Where none of these are available, individuals may complete a Phase 1B Declaration Form

Proof of eligibility – Obligations for Immunisers

  • Confirm that proof of eligibility meets one of the accepted types
  • Make a record of the form of proof provided
  • Eligibility only needs to be assessed for the first dose
    – If an individual has one dose recorded in AIR and the required spacing between doses is met, there is no
    need to again check priority eligibility
  • No further assessment is required by providers to assess whether an individual falls in a priority cohort
  • The reason for eligibility does not need to be reported

Where will I be vaccinated?

Most individuals in Phase 1B will make an appointment through the National Booking Service or provider’s own booking system and attend the clinic to be vaccinated. GPRCs, state vaccination clinics, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and some GPs will commence providing COVID-19 vaccines from Phase 1B. ADF personnel will be vaccinated by Defence. States and Territories will manage vaccination of their healthcare workforce and emergency services personnel

How can I prove I’ve been vaccinated?

Australians can already access their immunisation history statement through Medicare for proof of vaccination, both digitally and in hard copy, if required. Statements can be viewed on an individual’s Medicare online account or via the Medicare app. Your immunisation history statement will record your COVID-19 vaccinations, following each dose.

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