The WA Government has released a new public health direction to make COVID-19 vaccination for some WA health care workers and health support staff compulsory.
We wanted to provide you with the information to understand what this will mean for you.
The health worker direction mandates COVID-19 vaccination for those working in public and private hospitals and public health service facilities. At this stage, this does not apply to psychologists in private practice or settings other the designated health facilities outlined in the direction.
These directions come into effect at 12.01 am on 1 October 2021.
There will be a staged approach to mandatory vaccination, workers in the highest risk settings will required to be vaccinated first. The WA Government has introduced a tiered system to identify the highest risk settings.
From October 1, health care and health support workers in public and private hospitals will need to have had at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to access tier one facilities, which include intensive care units, high dependency units, respiratory wards, emergency departments, COVID-19 clinics, COVID-19 vaccination clinics and hospital wards with designated respiratory beds in certain regional hospitals. These workers will need to be fully vaccinated by 1 November.
From November 1, health care and health support workers need to be fully vaccinated to enter tier one health care facilities.
Also from November 1, health care workers will need to have had at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to access tier two facilities, which include all public and private hospitals. These workers will need to be fully vaccinated by December 1.
From December 1, all other health support workers will need to have had at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to access tier two facilities, which include all public and private hospitals. They will need to be fully vaccinated by January 1, 2022.
Also from December 1, health care workers and health support workers will need to have had at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to access tier three facilities, which include all public health service facilities including support services, Department of Health and health service provider sites. These workers will need to be fully vaccinated by January 1, 2022.
'Health care workers' include those who provide heath, medical, nursing, pathology, pharmaceutical, social work or allied health services to a patient at a health care facility in any capacity; students on placement; and ambulance officers. Psychologists are categorised as allied health.
'Health support workers' includes all paid and voluntary workers including admin and support staff.
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 health care workforce will be eligible for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination.
The full directions can be accessed here.
Similar legislation was enacted in NSW last week.
You can register for a COVID-19 vaccination here.
What to do if you have concerns or questions
If you have any questions about the COVID-19 vaccination, we encourage you to talk about this with a qualified health professional such as your GP.
If you are an employee or contractor, please discuss your workplace requirements with your employer, manager or supervisor.
We would also encourage members to be familiar with the Ahpra position statement on vaccinations for registered health practitioners and students.