Mandatory vax orders for Victoria

Pharmacists and pharmacy staff in the state need to receive their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by this date…

The Victorian Government has mandated COVID-19 vaccination for the state’s frontline health workers in a move welcomed by the PSA.

Public health orders signed on Wednesday by Victoria’s Acting Chief Health Officer, Professor Benjamin Cowie, require all people who work in a healthcare setting to be vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they have an exemption.

This order applies to community pharmacy, hospitals, general practice and more.

Previous versions of the directions had imposed only obligations on operators of residential aged care facilities and construction sites.

From 15 October, in order to enter a healthcare facility such as a pharmacy or hospital, a worker must have received their first dose of the vaccine by that date and their second dose by 15 December.

Pharmacists or pharmacy staff that have a booking for their first dose scheduled between the 15 October and 29 October can still keep working, but need to wear a face mask and shield at all times.

Exemptions are provided only for people who are unable, due to a medical contraindication, to receive a dose, or a further dose, of a COVID-19 vaccine.

PSA Victorian Branch President, John Jackson, applauded the move.

“As the state navigates its way out of its sixth lockdown and grapples a safe reopening, this is a step in the right direction. It protects health care workers. It protects patients. It further reduces the risk of further transmission through high-risk primary care settings,” said Mr Jackson.

“All healthcare workers and the community should be able to have confidence that everyone working to support health has heeded the health advice. That is, being vaccinated to protect themselves, their colleagues, and their patients.

“We also acknowledge the small cohort of health workers who have genuine medical contraindication to vaccination and welcome provisions to support people who have rare, but genuine, contraindications to vaccination,” he said.

PSA calls on all state and territory governments to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all health workers – including those working in primary care such as community pharmacies.

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