COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccinations Directions (No 4) introduces mandatory vaccination for healthcare workers in Victoria to limit the spread of COVID-19. Failure to comply with the directions may result in penalties.
Which healthcare facilities are impacted?
The new directions extend to operators of healthcare facilities and education facilities, in addition to the existing obligations on residential aged care facilities and construction sites.
The types of healthcare facilities impacted is very broad. For example, it covers:
- hospitals and associated retail;
- community health;
- mental health;
- child and maternity;
- drug and alcohol counselling;
- general practice;
- dental surgeries;
- health clinics;
- medical imaging; and
- educational settings.
It is expected further essential industries will have obligations imposed in relation to mandatory vaccinations in the coming months.
Dates for compliance
All healthcare workers must have their first dose by 29 October 2021, and be fully vaccinated by 15 December 2021, unless they are exempt. They must provide evidence of their vaccination status or booking to the healthcare operator by 15 October 2021.
Between 15 and 28 October 2021, operators may only allow unvaccinated workers to work if they have the required vaccine booking and wear additional PPE.
What to do next?
Operators of healthcare facilities are required to collect, record and hold vaccination information in relation to their workers, and must take reasonable steps to prevent entry of unvaccinated workers to the premises. Workers who have a recognised medical contraindication and have provided a medical certificate from an approved medical practitioner are exempt from the vaccination requirement, other exceptions apply in a narrow range of circumstances, usually due to an emergency situation or critical unforeseen circumstances.
How we can help
Russell Kennedy has been assisting a range of organisations in preparing communications to staff and policies dealing with vaccination requirements. We also have been advising organisations on how to ensure compliance by subcontractors and labour suppliers, and how to manage workers who do not get vaccinated, including dealing with conscientious objectors.
If you are affected by these changes or are unsure and need advice, contact Michael Gorton AM, Jonathan Teh, Libby Pallot or Anthony Massaro from the Russell Kennedy Health Law team.
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