Vaccination Requirements for Health Care Workers in Australia as of 10 September 2021

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By Rachael Sutton, Partner and Louise Cantrill, Partner

Jurisdiction Legislation Date of Order Requirements Date Order takes Effect
Federal  

 

*There are no federally mandated vaccination requirements for health care workers as at 10 September 2021.

Australian Capital Territory

*There are no mandatory vaccination requirements for health care workers in the ACT as at 10 September 2021.

New South Wales

Public Health (COVID-19 Vaccination of Health Care Workers) Order 2021, under the Public Health Act 2010

and

Public Health (COVID-19 Additional Restrictions for Delta Outbreak) Order (No 2) 2021 under the Public Health Act 2010

26 August 2021

All health care workers are required to have their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by 30 September 2021, and fully vaccinated by 30 November 2021. Health care workers are defined in the Order as any person who works for any of the following:

– a public health organisation (local health districts, statutory health corporation, or affiliated health organisations)

– the Health Administration Corporation

– the NSW Ambulance Service

private health facility (private hospital/day procedure centre)

Ministry of Health staff members also fall under the definition. The Order does not include private primary care providers such as GPs.

Vaccination is mandatory unless the employee has a medical contraindication evidence by the form approved by the Chief Health Officer or exemption from the Minister. Medical exemption forms can be accessed here

Relevant care workers from LGAs of concern must have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 19 September 2021 to continue to work outside their LGA of residence, provided they have booked their COVID-19 vaccination by the end of 8 September 2021. A relevant care worker includes:

(a) works in an early education and care facility, except for a person who provides services listed in—

(i) the Education and Care Services National Regulations, clause 5, other than clause 5(2)(c) or (h), or

(ii) the Children (Education and Care Services) Supplementary Provisions Act 2011, section 4(3), other than section 4(3)(a), or Note. See Schedule 4, Dictionary, note for the meaning of early education and care facility.

(b) provides disability support services in person to a person with a disability, including services funded or provided under—

(i) the National Disability Insurance Scheme of the Commonwealth, or

(ii) the Assisted School Travel Program of the Department of Education,

30 September 2021
Northern Territory

*There are no mandatory vaccination requirements for health care workers in the NT as at 10 September 2021.

However, Northern Territory workers in remote Aboriginal communities could soon face mandatory COVID vaccinations to be allowed to work.

Queensland

*There are no mandatory vaccination requirements for health care workers in QLD as at 10 September 2021

South Australia

Immunisation for Health Care Workers and Quarantine Workers in South Australia Policy Directive

18 February 2021

The Directive does not mandate vaccines against COVID-19 for those covered by the scope of the Policy, but strongly recommends all health care workers be vaccinated against COVID-19 infection.

Unvaccinated staff will be moved from red zone areas of the hospital to lower-risk areas.

 

 

Emergency Management (Supervised Quarantine No 10) (COVID-19) Direction 2021 under section 25 of the Emergency Management Act 2004.

 

 

26 July 2021

South Australian health care workers who specifically provide clinical care or support to persons undertaking supervised quarantine at a medi-hotel or quarantine facility must comply with the COVID-19 vaccination requirements in this Direction.

Such workers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or must have at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine prior to commencing and their second dose no later than 6 weeks after their date of commencement.

4 August 2021
Tasmania

Statement from Jeremy Rockliff, Acting Premier. Link here

From 31 October 2021, workers in public and private healthcare will be required to have had one dose, or have evidence of a vaccination booking. It will be mandated with a public health direction, after the definitions of “healthcare worker” and “premises” are finalised.

Medical contraindication and age exemptions available subject to evidence requirements.

Expected 31 October 2021
Victoria

*There are no mandatory vaccination requirements for health care workers in VIC as at 10 September 2021

Western Australia

Health Worker (Restrictions on Access) Directions pursuant to the Public Health Act 2016 (WA), ss 157(l)(e), 157(1)(k), 180 and 190(l)(p)

1 September 2021

From 1 October 2021, health care support workers in public and private hospitals will need to have had at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to access tier one facilities (i.e., intensive care units, high dependency units, respiratory wards, emergency departments, COVID-19 clinics, COVID-19 vaccination clinics and hospital wards with designated respiratory beds in certain regional hospitals). These workers will need to be fully vaccinated by 1 November 2021.

From 1 November 2021, health care and health support workers will need to be fully vaccinated to access tier one and tier two facilities (all public and private hospitals). These workers will need to be fully vaccinated by 1 December 2021.

From 1 December 2021, all other health support workers will need to have had at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to access tier two facilities, and fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022.

Also from December 1, health care workers and health support workers will need to have had at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to access tier three facilities, (all public health service facilities including support services, Department of Health and health service provider sites). These workers will need to be fully vaccinated by January 1, 2022.

The directions provide exemptions for certain categories of employees, which include medical exemptions and other temporary exemptions. Immunisation medical exemption criteria linked here.

12.01 am on 1 October 2021

*Requirements for States and Territories will be updated when available.

Tips for managing employees and vaccination requirements

  • Early and clear communication in writing of the requirements to vaccinate and the evidence required for a medical contraindication should be provided.
  • The requirement to have the vaccination is an inherent requirement of the job by virtue of the Public Health Orders or Directions in each jurisdiction.
  • Each Order or Direction has specific exemptions for emergencies and workforce limitations or issues that may allow for exceptions so employers should check the Order or Direction before proceeding with a termination of employment for lack of vaccination.
  • If the employee provides evidence of a medical contraindication, check if is it meets the terms of the Order or Direction. If it does then consideration of whether their ongoing employment can be accommodated (provided it is in keeping with the Order or Direction) must be considered.  Alternatives such as offering leave or leave without pay for the duration of the Order or Direction may be considered otherwise termination of employment is possible in the absence of those alternatives.
  • If there is an issue as to the validity of the medical contraindication being claimed, you can seek to clarify it with the medical practitioner providing the evidence or form and it is advisable to seek legal advice before terminating if there is an issue in this regard.
  • Beware of fake forms and certificates and/or evidence of vaccination from employees as forms and certificates can and are be forged. An immunization history statement may be requested as proof of vaccination from employees.
For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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