Ensuring vaccination for health care workers

Released 05/10/2021 - Joint media release

The ACT Government is working towards requiring workers in certain health care settings to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said ensuring health care workers are vaccinated would help protect them against the virus, while also reducing the risk of transmission amongst patients and the community.

“As restrictions are eased, we expect there will be more cases of COVID-19 in our community, which will likely lead to an increase in hospital admissions,” Chief Minister Barr said.

“Although we have very high vaccination rates in the ACT, we recognise that the higher risk in health care settings requires the highest possible level of vaccination against COVID.”

The ACT Chief Health Officer will sign a new public health direction to require workers in certain health care settings to be vaccinated.

ACT Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said the decision to introduce mandatory vaccinations for health care workers was in line with recommendations from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee and consistent with actions being taken in other Australian jurisdictions.

“Health care settings provide care for people with COVID-19 and therefore heath care workers have higher risk of potential exposure to COVID-19,” Minister Stephen-Smith said.

“We have seen the impact of COVID-19 outbreaks in hospitals in other jurisdictions, including on vulnerable patients. While infection prevention and control has so far been very effective in Canberra’s hospitals, mandatory vaccination in these settings is an added layer of protection for workers, patients and the community.

“The proposed direction would cover staff in any health care facility operated by Canberra Health Services, or in any hospital or hospice, as well as ambulance services or other patient transport.

“There will be a phased approach with health care workers in these settings needing to have one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 29 October and to be fully vaccinated by the start of December.

“The ACT Government is now undertaking comprehensive consultation with staff, affected private sector organisations, unions and other key stakeholders on the detail of the health direction.”

“We have done significant work to enable access to vaccination for frontline health workers, who have been eligible for vaccination since February. Priority appointments have been offered over the last few weeks for those workers who are yet to be vaccinated and we will continue to encourage everyone to come forward.”

- Statement ends -

Section: Andrew Barr, MLA | Rachel Stephen-Smith, MLA | Media Releases

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