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Australia COVID vaccination mandatory for all health care workers, WA government announces

11:00  02 september  2021
11:00  02 september  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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The COVID -19 vaccine is an important measure to keep WA safe and healthy , and will help protect yourself, your family and the community. The rollout of the vaccine in WA commenced in late-February 2021, with priority groups (external link) offered the first doses. This included people most at risk of becoming very ill with COVID -19, and people at greater risk of becoming infected through their work . The WA Department of Health are responsible for the rollout of the vaccination program in WA . It is recommended all adults get the COVID -19 vaccine when they are eligible. The vaccine will be free.

COVID -19 vaccinations will be mandatory in the hotel quarantine system from Monday, 10 May 2021 to help protect WA from an outbreak. Any hotel quarantine worker who has not been vaccinated from this date will be prevented from entering quarantine facilities. This includes security personnel, cleaners and hotel staff who have contact with guests and guest’s rooms, medical and health staff, ADF personnel and WA Police who work within the hotel quarantine system. The next two weeks will allow opportunity for maximum vaccination uptake by hotel quarantine staff. Hotel workers are the highest

The strict new rules for healthcare workers come as WA moves to significantly tighten border restrictions with Victoria, with all arrivals from that state now needing to have had at least one vaccine dose. © Getty The strict new rules for healthcare workers come as WA moves to significantly tighten border restrictions with Victoria, with all arrivals from that state now needing to have had at least one vaccine dose.

All West Australian health care workers will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of the year, under new mandatory rules designed to protect them and the wider community.

The strict new rules for healthcare workers come as WA moves to significantly tighten border restrictions with Victoria, with all arrivals from that state now needing to have had at least one vaccine dose.

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"Our health care organizations and societies advocate that all health care and long-term care employers require their workers to receive the COVID -19 vaccine . White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday the White House supports the medical associations' call to mandate vaccines for all US health personnel. "These actions, in our view, are meant to keep patients and employees safe and in fact, I expect our own federal health care providers may look at similar requirements as they do with other vaccines ," she said.

The WA Government is set to make the COVID -19 vaccination mandatory for quarantine workers , despite Premier Mark McGowan admitting it was not his preference. Key points: About two in five quarantine workers have not consented to the jab. "This is just like aged care facilities where people must have the flu vaccine to enter. "Our frontline quarantine workforce need to be vaccinated , for their own safety, and the safety of their friends, family and the wider community." WA Premier Mark McGowan said frontline workers needed to be vaccinated .

All Victorian arrivals will also need proof of a negative COVID-19 test in the 72 hours prior to coming to WA, under the rules that come into force on Monday.

On the new vaccine rules for people working in the health system, Health Minister Roger Cook said it would benefit both workers and the broader community.

The rules will apply to both health care and support workers, across both public and private hospitals.

"There is the very real possibility that a worker at a health care facility will come in contact with someone who has COVID-19," Mr Cook said.

"That is why it is vital we ensure our entire health care workforce is vaccinated against COVID-19.

"We know that our system will be challenged into the future when inevitably Delta comes into Western Australia ... we need to make sure our precious workforce is fully vaccinated."

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The WA Government has announced a 4 million housing stimulus package to deliver a major boost to WA ’s COVID -19 economic recovery, and support the building and construction sectors. The comprehensive housing package will provide incentives for Western Australians to build new homes and In a first for Western Australia , the WA Government will invest million in a new 20 bed adult community care unit, which will provide high-level support and rehabilitation services in a home-like environment in the community to adults with mental health issues. East-coast FIFO workers

Airport worker employers. If you employ airport workers , you are required to ensure they have received at least the first dose of a COVID -19 vaccine before they provide transport services . Airport workers can request a COVID -19 vaccination exemption for medical reasons. If, as an authorised worker construction worker from a local government area of concern, you have a medical reason as to why you cannot receive a vaccination , you need to obtain a medical contraindication certificate from a medical practitioner (such as your doctor) who must use a form approved by the NSW Chief Health

Staged rollout for new rules

The mandatory vaccination requirement for WA health care workers will progressively begin from October 1.

In stage one, staff working in tier one areas — such as intensive care units, high dependency units, respiratory wards, COVID-19 clinics and vaccination centres — will have to have had one jab by October 1 and be fully vaccinated the following month.

The rules will then expand from November 1 to require all other health care workers to have had one dose for them to be able to work in public and private hospitals.

Under the third stage, health care and support workers would need to have had at least one dose by December 1 and be fully vaccinated by the new year to access support service and health provider sites.

That would culminate in all health care workers needing to have received both vaccine doses by January 1.

"If an individual does not wish to be vaccinated, they will need to seek other employment," Chief Health Officer Andy Robertson said.

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There are no exact figures on how many WA health care workers have been vaccinated already, because it is not known many have received the jab at a GP clinics.

But figures from state health care clinics and vaccination centres in hospitals showed 45,081 health care workers, or 76.4 per cent, had had a first dose, and 68 per cent, or 40,101 had had a second dose.

Dr Robertson said mandatory vaccination would also help maintain essential health care services in the event of an outbreak.

"We've seen unfortunately what's happened where staff has to be sent on quarantine or furloughed and that obviously impacts on the operations of those hospitals," he said.

"And that's what we're trying to avoid, to the extent we can."

Chorus of support for new rules

The Australian Medical Association said it backed the move to require vaccines for anyone working in the health system.

"Not just frontline health care workers, but everybody who works in health care settings, everyone who works in a hospital, everyone who works in a GP practice, a pharmacy or in an ambulance retrieval service," AMA national president Omar Khorshid said today.

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St John of God Health Care said it also strongly supported the announcement.

"The community rightfully expects hospitals and other places providing health services to be safe environments to receive treatment, care and support," chief executive officer Shane Kelly said.

"As health care workers, we have a societal responsibility to get vaccinated and comply with all measures, including stringent infection control processes and the correct wearing of PPE, which make our hospitals and other services as safe as possible and maintain community confidence in the health care system.

"Vaccination provides the best protection, and is vital to looking after our patients and each other."

Aged care worker warning

Australian Nursing Federation state secretary Mark Olson said the measure was  necessary to deal with the Delta variant of the virus.

However, he said he was still concerned about the aged care sector.

"When I last looked at the figures, it's still around 25 to 30 per cent of aged care workers in Western Australia have not been vaccinated, so we're going to have to address these challenges.

"Whether we have this 'drop dead' deadline or maybe we need to start looking at how that deadline works in aged care.

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"It will be a disaster if we have even 10 per cent of our workforce leaving the sector.

"That's just going to clog up our hospitals because that will be 10 per cent of residents who can't be looked after."

Jab required for entry

The new Victorian border rules were announced just hours after that state recorded its highest number of daily COVID-19 cases in more than 12 months.

Victoria reported 176 new cases in the past 24 hours, prompting WA's decision to reclassify it as 'high risk' under its border rule criteria.

It means anyone entering WA from Victoria, or anyone who has travelled through Victoria in the previous 14 days, will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test in the 72 hours prior to departure, as well as proof they have had at least one dose of a vaccine.

They will also have to use the G2G app on arrival in WA, and have COVID-19 tests on days two and 12 of their 14 days of quarantine.

It is the second highest risk category that WA has used, with New South Wales currently categorised as extreme risk – which limits entry to a narrow list of people undertaking "Commonwealth, state or specialist functions".

[Zendesk COVID form embed]

How do I make a COVID-19 vaccine booking? And what if I want to cancel my appointment or bring it forward? .
Australia is etching a path toward freedom, but it comes with a caveat: you'll need to be fully vaccinated. New South Wales and Victoria are both pushing ahead with a national plan to open up to those who have received both doses — and for some, it could come as soon as next month."We are seeing that [vaccination] rate slightly decline," stressed NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Wednesday, announcing that dozens of stay-at-home restrictions would ease shortly after 70 per cent of people aged 16 and above were fully vaccinated.

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