If all goes to plan, from December 1 anyone working for WA Health, or any private health care provider in WA will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order get to work.
COVID-19 vaccination will be compulsory for all WA health care workers and health support staff from December 1, 2021, in both public and private health care settings. By this time, anyone working at a Western Australia (WA) health facility will need to have received at least the first dose of any COVID-19 vaccine.
The new guidelines are backed by new Health Worker (Restrictions on Access) Directions, which apply to health care and support workers across all health care facilities in WA. The plan is to follow a staged approach, with those working in the highest risk settings needing to be vaccinated first.
Here is what the guidelines say:
- “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.”
Who is included?
According to the official press release, ‘Health care workers’ include anyone who provides health, medical, nursing, pathology, pharmaceutical, social work or allied health services to a patient at a health care facility and in any capacity. This also includes students on placement and ambulance officers, paid and voluntary workers, including agency staff working onsite; administrative staff; ancillary staff including cleaners, laundry staff, gardeners, food preparation services, security officers and maintenance services; and providers of lifestyle or social care.
In other words, anyone working at a WA Health facility, public or private, in any capacity will need to get the jab. There are some exceptions, however, such as for certain medical conditions, as explained in this official website.
“The new directions will mean it is a legal requirement for the health care workforce to be vaccinated against COVID-19, in order to attend their place of work. It is an offence to fail to comply with the directions, punishable by a fine of up to $20,000,” Mr Roger Cook, Minister of Health for WA, said.
The announcement is being backed by one of Australia’s largest private health care providers, St John of God Health Care.