Victorian vaccine mandate to stay in place even after pandemic declaration ends

Mandate to remain in place for tens of thousands of workers

Victorian vaccine mandate to stay in place even after pandemic declaration ends
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Thousands of Victorians will still be subject to vaccine mandates even after the state government drops its pandemic declaration next week.

The Herald Sun reported that the declaration, in place since 2021, was expected to be dropped on October 12.

But government departments and private sector employers would be able to enforce vaccine mandates, even without the pandemic declaration in place, under existing occupational health and safety laws.

The Victoria Health Department had already confirmed it would extend vaccine requirements for workers.

“It’s important that additional arrangements remain in place to protect workers and vulnerable Victorians in aged care, disability settings and hospitals,” a spokesman said.

It meant mandates would remain in force for public, denominational, and private hospitals, health services, public sector aged care facilities, day procedure centres and ambulance services.

Court Services Victoria has been enforcing its own policies, including a vaccine mandate, since October last year.

A third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine will still be required for teachers in specialist settings.

Almost 95 per cent of Victorians aged 12 and over have had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. Of those, 69.9 per cent of people aged 16 and over have had a third dose.

Mandates will remain in force for healthcare workers and teachers despite the fact that leading epidemiologists told the state’s pandemic declaration accountability and oversight committee in June that there was no longer any need for jab mandates in most workplaces.

Professor Catherine Bennett, who is the epidemiology chair at Deakin University, said there was no basis to keep people away from workplaces that only require two jabs.

“I don’t think there’s any dispute that they served a role at the time … (but) we’ve moved on from any reasonable argument around two dosed mandates,” she said.

Professor Nancy Baxter, who leads the University of Melbourne’s school of population and global health, told the oversight committee it was “unclear” why a two-dose edict was still being enforced.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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