Main State health ministers are insisting on mandatory vaccinations for Australian health care workers and support staff to protect themselves and the community against COVID-19.
Health ministers are paving the way in Western Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania and have announced mandatory vaccines for all health care workers including doctors, nurses, support workers and hospital cleaners.
The West Australian (WA) Government announced vaccination is soon to be compulsory for health care workers and support staff to continue to work in public and private hospitals and public health facilities.
WA, the most diligent State, is introducing mandatory vaccines in a staged approach, starting October 1, health care and support workers will need to have had at least their first dose of vaccination to enter tier one facilities, and they must be fully vaccinated by November 1.
To enter a tier two site, health care workers must have had their first dose of vaccination by November 1 and be fully vaccinated by December 1.
Tier three site health workers are to have their first dose by December 1 and be fully vaccinated by January 1.
Health care workers are anyone in WA who provides medical, health, nursing, pharmaceutical, pathology, social work, services allied to a patient at a health care facility, students, and ambulance officers.
Health support workers are considered people who provide services or goods at a health facility, and the mandate applies to every single staff person working onsite at a health care facility.
WA Health Minister Roger Cook said, “despite our continued best efforts to keep the virus out, we cannot be complacent – there is the real possibility that an employee at a health care facility will come into contact with someone who has COVID-19.”
“That is why it is vital that we ensure our entire health care workforce is vaccinated against COVID-19 – this will benefit patients, the workers and the broader community,” he said.
“The new directions will mean it is a legal requirement for the health care workforce to be vaccinated against COVID-19, in order to attend their place of work,” said Mr Cook.
Mandatory vaccinations for authorised front line health care workers were introduced in August this year with New South Wales Minister for Health and Medical Research Brad Hazzard approving the Public Health order.
In Tasmania Acting Premier Jeremy Rockliff announced mandatory vaccination for health care workers to start at the end of October.
At a Federal level Minister for Health Greg Hunt indicated early in July that the government is providing a funding program to residential aged care workers to recommend mandatory vaccines.
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee provided advice to National Cabinet to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for aged care residential workers, commencing in September.
COVID-19 safe settings remain strict in Victoria, although there is no specific vaccine mandate for health care workers.
The Victorian Department of Health does stipulate health care workers are at risk of exposure to, and transmission of, vaccine-preventable diseases and should maintain proof of any vaccination.
Prepared by APA staff, 9th September 2021