- Expansion of mandate will help protect the most vulnerable people in the community
- Primary and community health workers to align with health care workers
- Workers must have first dose by November 1, 2021 in line with health care workers
Following the latest health advice, workers in primary and community health services will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to be able to attend their workplace.
This complements the introduction of mandatory vaccination for health care workers, which has received strong support from a broad cross section of peak bodies representing primary health and community health practitioners.
Western Australian Chief Health Officer Dr Andrew Robertson's latest advice recommends the State Government mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for an estimated 10,000 staff in private provider facilities, such as general practitioners, private nurse offices and consulting offices, pharmacies, dental centres, allied health facilities and private pathology centres.
Transmission in the primary health and community health setting could have major consequences within the community, including to those most at risk of severe disease associated with COVID-19.
Health workers in community settings work closely with vulnerable groups, including the elderly and those with chronic disease or who are immunocompromised; these vulnerable groups are at high risk of serious complications from COVID-19 infection and include people who may not be able to be vaccinated themselves.
This public health measure provides for a nationally consistent approach following advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.
From November 1, 2021, primary and community health workers will need to have had at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to access their workplace, bringing it in line with the Tier 2 requirement in the current 'Health Worker (Restrictions on Access) Directions (No 3)'.
The deadline to be fully vaccinated will be December 1, 2021.
The Health Worker (Restrictions on Access) Directions provide exemptions for certain categories of employees, which include medical exemptions and other temporary exemptions.
Immunisation medical exemption criteria is available from the Australian Government website.
The Directions to mandate vaccinations for primary and community health service workers are expected to be finalised this week.
Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:
"Peak health bodies right across Australia, including the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, strongly support vaccination of all health workers.
"These new Directions will bring the primary and community health workers into line with other healthcare workers.
"Workers, visitors and patients in hospitals and health services are especially vulnerable to transmission risk.
"People seeking health care have an expectation that their health will not be further compromised while seeking the care they require.
"It is sensible that we do everything we can to protect them.
"The more people who get vaccinated, the more we're protecting our families, our friends and our communities."
Minister's office - 6552 6500