Hundreds of people across western Victoria have overcome difficulty accessing a COVID-19 vaccination thanks to an In-Home Vaccination Program by Western Victoria Primary Health Network (WVPHN).
Recognising the diverse limitations of vulnerable populations in accessing a COVID-19 vaccine, WVPHN allocated Commonwealth funding to establish the In-Home COVID-19 Vaccinations for Vulnerable Populations Grant.
General practices and Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics across western Victoria were invited to participate in the program, with thirteen immunisation providers awarded grants to deliver a home in-reach COVID-19 vaccination service to their local community.
Since the inception of the In-Home Vaccination Program in November 2021, WVPHN has helped to deliver almost 35% of all homebound vaccinations administered nationally, with 683 of 2000 national in-home vaccinations delivered in the western Victoria region.
347 homebound vaccinations have been delivered in the Ballarat-Goldfields region, 159 in the Geelong-Otway sub-region, and 99 and 78 in the Wimmera-Grampians and Great South Coast sub-regions respectively.
WVPHN Chief Executive Officer Rowena Clift says that the In-Home Vaccination Program has helped vulnerable community members in western Victoria boost their protection against COVID-19, while simultaneously improving workforce efficiency during a challenging period for primary healthcare.
Ms Clift said: “With the added pressures placed on general practitioners during the COVID-19 pandemic, in reach vaccination services have enabled qualified immunisation nurses to administer vaccines in residential aged care facilities (RACFs), residential disability facilities or at a patient’s place of residence. This has significantly improved vaccine access for vulnerable communities while also enabling general practitioners to remain available to attend to routine patient care.”
Groups eligible for in-home vaccination through WVPHN’s In-Home Vaccination Program include those within hard-to-reach communities who would have otherwise had trouble obtaining a COVID-19 vaccination.
Many of the vaccinations have been provided to elderly or frail community members and to those with a disability who are unable to leave home.
Individuals experiencing homelessness, culturally, ethnically, and linguistically diverse communities who may find it difficult to use mainstream services, and people in rural and remote areas with limited healthcare options are also eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations through the in-home vaccinating service.
WVPHN’s In-Home Vaccination Program has been extended until 30 June 2022.
A list of participating clinics can be found on the Western Victoria COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics webpage.