Carer and senior woman sitting outside

Can I ask my home care worker if they are vaccinated?

Published: 7 October 2021
  • national
  • 7 October 2021
  • COTA Australia

Covid-19 vaccinations were made compulsory for all residential aged care staff by Friday 17 September. On the Friday 97.6% (and rising) staff had received at least one Covid jab and almost 80% were fully vaccinated. On the latest figures 98.8% of staff have now had one jab!

We have had a number of queries from older Australians getting aged care services at home about those workers being vaccinated or not. The Federal Government has not yet made vaccinations for funded home care workers mandatory, but is considering it now. COTA Australia is advocating that all home care staff providing support and care in people’s homes should be required to be vaccinated and believe that aged care providers should be supporting this to happen now.

All State and Territory governments are either mandating or prioritising vaccination of health care workers and those working with vulnerable groups of people. Every home care worker is able to get a vaccination as they don’t need to book, they can turn up to a clinic and identify themselves as a carer.

The question that is being asked of us is, “can I ask my worker if they are vaccinated?” Ideally you would have a good working relationship with your workers, and they would be happy and comfortable to say they got their jab to protect the health and safety of the people in their care.

Where it is not a regular worker, you have every right to ask, and to ask the provider in advance, but you cannot compel a response from the worker. Our experience is that most people who have been vaccinated are happy to share this information with others and do this with a sense of civic pride and duty.

The other question being asked of us is, “can I ask my provider if my worker is vaccinated?” It is unlikely that your home care provider will give you information on the vaccination status of a worker, even if it has been shared with them. This is considered sensitive information and usually governed under various information and privacy laws. However, you can tell the provider that you only want service from a vaccinated staffer.

COTA Australia advocates requiring all home care staff providing support and care in people’s homes to be vaccinated. We call on providers to support this too.