Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania are the only States in Australia that have not yet made it mandatory for all disability support workers and in-home and community aged care workers to have the COVID-19 vaccine to continue working.
The Federal Government mandated COVID-19 vaccinations for residential care workers in June – with first doses to be completed by 17 September – but have not taken the same approach for home care workers – despite the risk of COVID-19 infection for home care recipients and staff.
WA Premier Mark McGowan yesterday said that all workers in residential and non-residential community care services including and in relation to: disability, mental health, homelessness, drug and alcohol services, child protection, family and domestic violence and Aboriginal peoples would need to have a first dose by 1 December and second dose by 31 December or face a $20,000 fine.
Vaccine mandates have now been imposed in the ACT for disability support workers and in-home and community aged care workers, who will need to have both doses by 29 November.
On 15 October, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard announced that it is a requirement for all in-home and community aged care workers to have both doses of a COVID-19 vaccination by 29 November. This includes all in-home aged care and Commonwealth Home Support Programme workers.
Victoria and the NT had already mandated COVID-19 vaccines for all disability support workers and in-home and community aged care workers.
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) is considering mandating COVID-19 vaccination for all in-home and community aged care workers nationally, which would force the hand of the mandate-shy states.
ACT Health Minister, Rachel Stephen-Smith, said the Territory’s decision to introduce mandatory vaccinations was supported by recommendations from the AHPPC, including the creation of national definitions.