Mon. Aug 8th, 2022

coronavirus, vaccine, mandate, health, health care, canberra, action, covid

The ACT’s highest medical body has called for a COVID-19 vaccine mandate to be extended to all health workers in Canberra, as the Territorial Government announced that some workers must be fully vaccinated in December. Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said Tuesday that vaccinations would soon be mandatory for workers at the highest risk of coming into contact with the virus. Workers affected by the vaccine mandate must have had their first dose by 29 October and their second vaccination by 1 December. The mandatory vaccination requirements apply to staff most at risk of contact with COVID: frontline healthcare professionals in hospitals and any healthcare facility operated by Canberra Health Services, as well as those working in day hospitals, hospices, ambulance services and other patient transport. “Healthcare professionals have a higher potential exposure to COVID-19 as they provide care to COVID-19 patients,” said Stephen-Smith. “For those who may have COVID and are unaware of it and present it to the healthcare community for other reasons, vaccination of healthcare professionals is the most effective way to protect them from the virus, while reducing transmission to patients, other staff and the wider community. “Making vaccination mandatory in this environment is an extra layer of protection for workers, patients and society.” Stephen-Smith said the consultation had begun with health forces to complete the public health direction for the mandate. She said the government would consider a further phased approach to compulsory vaccines in other health settings in the coming weeks.A survey of health professionals this month showed that “more than 80 per cent” of workers were either fully or partially vaccinated.The ACT’s current rate for the population over 16 is 93.8 per cent. is the fully vaccinated rate of 73 percent for healthcare professionals higher than the overall ACT rate at 67.8 percent. ephen-smith said workers who refused to get the vaccine could be relocated to other areas of the territory’s public service. The ACT government has been reluctant to mandate vaccines. Prime Minister Andrew Barr said last month that mandates “in themselves do not guarantee that you will not see infections in certain workplaces”. MORE COVID-19 NEWS: The Australian Medical Association of the ACT had been critical of the lack of COVID-19 vaccine mandates for healthcare professionals in the field. AMA ACT President, Dr. Walter Abhayaratna, said he welcomed the announcement, but hoped the mandate would be extended to include all health workers in the area, including those of doctors and pharmacies. “We believe that it is an expectation of the patients that they have received caregivers who have been vaccinated and that they will not spread unnecessary COVID to them,” said Dr. Abhayaratna. “I was hoping to see it [the mandate] would be extended to all health areas, including the Community sector, such as general practitioners. “I would actually extend it a bit further. I think it’s important that not only healthcare professionals but also support staff in healthcare areas, administrative administrators and staff.” Our coverage of the health and safety aspects of this outbreak of COVID-19 in ACT and lockdown is free for all to access. However, we rely on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you can, you can subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support. You can also sign up for our regular newsletter. Our journalists work hard to deliver local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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