Frequently Asked Questions
WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) is working closely with and acting on the advice of the Australian and WA Government Departments of Health to support the COVID-19 vaccination program and prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak in WA.
WAPHA is supporting GPs and GP Respiratory Clinics with administering COVID-19 vaccines by:
- Responding to queries related to the Australian Government COVID-19 vaccine program
- Providing links to HealthPathways WA; a secure, online portal that includes information and resources to support GPs with COVID-19 vaccination.
- Assisting with the transfer of COVID-19 vaccine stock between practices.
- Liaising between practices and the Australian Department of Health to support the implementation of the vaccine program.
By working with partner organisations, WAPHA is also assisting the Australian Government with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout for people accessing residential aged care and disability support services.
We are continuing to update staff, service providers and general practices across our communications channels, such as through newsletters, and responding to enquiries through our website.
On 20 October, WA Premier Mark McGowan announced a Mandatory Vaccination Policy for WA workforces. The expanded policy prepares the community for the expected transmission of COVID-19 in WA, and importantly, provides greater protection for people who are at high risk of poor outcomes if they were to contract COVID-19.
What does this mean?
By 31 January 2022 it is expected that 75% of the workforce in WA will be required to be fully vaccinated.
What does it mean for you as a WAPHA commissioned service provider?
WAPHA commissioned service providers work closely with vulnerable communities and at-risk people. It is critical that health and community service provider staff are protected against the predicted delta outbreak, which will likely occur once border restrictions are relaxed.
It is extremely important for all service providers to review the mandatory vaccination information so that you know when and who within your workforce requires vaccination to prevent service disruption.
Information about the COVID-19 vaccination requirements for people working in the Primary Health Care setting is provided in the Primary Health Care Worker (Restrictions on Access) Directions.
Information about the COVID-19 vaccination requirements for hospital and health service workers is provided in the Health Worker (Restrictions on Access) Directions.
Information about other groups requiring mandatory vaccination can be accessed here. A reminder Group 1 – Industries and Occupations includes workers from Residential and no-residential community care services who are required to have their first dose by 1 December 2021 and be fully vaccinated by 31 December 2021.
- Information about obtaining a medical exemption for COVID Vaccination can be found in the list of Frequently asked Questions at the WA Department of Health Website here: https://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/Coronavirus/COVID19-vaccination-program/Directions-for-healthcare-and-health-support-workers/FAQ
WA Primary Health Alliance will work with commissioned service providers to ensure access to commissioned services where there is COVID exposure within the community. This may take the form of changes to mode of service delivery, delivery location, and hours of service provision (amongst others) and this will be undertaken in collaboration with service providers.
During these times we will continue to reassess the situation with commissioned providers, and if it is determined an unavoidable delay has eventuated, WA Primary Health Alliance will discuss service agreement requirements and obligations with your organisation. Regular contact with and notifying your contract manager about service changes and disruptions will assist the contract manager to support you as best as possible.
The WA Government activates travel restrictions where there is a threat to a community / region. Interstate, international and regional travel advice is available from the WA COVID-19 coronavirus: Travel to WA website. Information about what you need to know to travel to remote Aboriginal Communities is provided on the COVID19-coronavirus: Remote Aboriginal Communities travel website.
It is appropriate that service providers consider their level of preparedness for a COVID-19 outbreak / lockdown and explore alternative options for service provision such as telephone or video consultations, where appropriate.
To determine how prepared your workplace is, please see our?commissioned services checklist. There are also a range of other resources available here:
WAPHA has been advised by the Australian Department of Health that the National Medical Stockpile is a strategic reserve and not a general supplier of personal protective equipment (PPE). The Stockpile is only intended to provide PPE where commercial supply is unavailable and there is a demonstrated need or clinical advice for its use.
WAPHA is currently authorised to provide surgical masks to GPs, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and pharmacies that meet specific criteria, and PPE to GP Respiratory Clinics due to their role in testing for COVID-19 within the community.?
Service providers are encouraged to identify and secure PPE and hand sanitiser workforce and client safety requirements, now and arrange for supply during a COVID outbreak / lockdown.
The Australian Government FairWork Ombudsman has produced a useful resource for workplaces affected by vaccine mandates covering topics here. The topics include:
- Lawful and reasonable directions to get vaccinated
- Stand downs
- Asking for proof of vaccination
The WA Government also provides advice on COVID-19, including:
- Information for employers regarding the COVID-19 Vaccination roll out.
- Employment impacted by COVID provides information for private sector employers and employees on employment obligations and entitlements relevant to a range of situations, including vaccination, employer guidance for employee management and employee entitlements
- COVID-19 Consumer Protection information.
Safe Work Australia provides advice related to service users and the need for controls to be in place to protect both workers and other customers. For more information see section related to Workers, customers and vaccinations and Can I require customers and visitors to prove they have been vaccinated before they can entre my workplace? On the Safe Work website here.
The Australian Human Rights Commission also provides advice on COVID-19 vaccinations and federal discrimination law here.
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