A message to our carers about COVID-19 vaccinations for children and young people in care.

You may have heard the Premier’s recent announcement that all South Australians over the age of 12 years are now eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination. This makes South Australia the first state in the nation to offer Pfizer to anyone over 12 years. It is hoped that every eligible South Australian will have the opportunity to be vaccinated by the end of the year. With the Premier’s announcement and vaccination clinics being now open to children and young people aged 12 years and over, we thought it was timely to provide you with some advice on vaccinations.

We know that immunisation against preventable diseases is a core component of children and young people’s health care needs. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to protect ourselves and the South Australian community.

The Department for Child Protection (DCP) is very supportive of all eligible children and young people in care (unless there are medical reasons to not have one) having access to and receiving the COVID-19 vaccination.

If they haven’t already, case workers will soon be making contact with you about  COVID-19 vaccinations for eligible children and young people. Please feel free to also  initiate contact from your end. DCP case workers are available to offer you support with accessing vaccinations for eligible children and young people where needed, for example, by making the booking.

The Who Can Say Ok booklet provides guidance for carers of children and young people who are under the guardianship of the Chief Executive of DCP. With respect to vaccines, if you are caring for a child or young person under Guardianship of the Chief Executive until they reach the age of 18 years (sometimes called ‘long term orders’), you are able to provide the consent for the vaccine. As with all vaccinations for children and young people, we do ask that you please inform your case worker once the vaccine has been obtained as the case worker will record the vaccine as part of the child or young person’s case records. Please remember if you take a child or young person in your care to be vaccinated, that the verification of a child in care card, in conjunction with your foster and kinship carer ID card, verifies your relationship to a child or young person in your care and confirms that you can provide consent for the child to be immunised.

For children and young people under other types of orders, please first talk with your case worker. If you are unsure about the order the child or young person in your care is under or if want to talk about whether it is appropriate for you to provide consent, your case worker will be happy to provide you with the information.

Young people over the age of 16 years can make their own choice about whether they wish to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.  It is important though that young people are provided with information to make an informed choice about vaccinations. The Australian Government has some helpful information on their website, called COVID-19 vaccines – Is it True? and the site provides accurate, evidence-based answers to questions about COVID-19 vaccines. If you require further assistance to talk with the young person in your care about the benefits of being vaccinated against COVID-19, please contact your case worker.

If you have a Year 11 or 12 student in your care who is willing to have a COVID-19 vaccination, SA Health has advised they can attend walk-in vaccination clinics without a booking for the rest of the month. The service will be available at SA Health clinics at Wayville (before 3:30pm), Elizabeth, Enfield, Noarlunga, Port Augusta, Whyalla and Port Lincoln. Students can also go to the SA Health clinics at Victor Harbor, Mount Barker and Gawler, but must call beforehand to let staff know they are coming. More information about this initiative can be found on the SA Health website.

Our COVID-19 resources page has more information for carers, including testing, hygiene, masks, distancing and travel.

SA Health also has more information about the SA COVID-19 vaccination program.

As always – a very big thank you for everything you do to support the children and young people in your care.  Remember getting a vaccine is the single best way you can protect yourself, your loved ones and the community against COVID-19.