The Andrews Labor Government is stepping up the fight against flu and making vaccinations compulsory for frontline doctors and nurses in our hospitals and paramedics caring for Victoria’s most vulnerable patients.
Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos announced the Health Services Amendment (Mandatory Vaccination of Healthcare Workers) Bill 2020 will be introduced in Parliament today.
Last year‘s unprecedented flu season put enormous strain on our hospitals, with more than 69,000 laboratory-confirmed flu cases. Victoria’s dedicated health workforce rose to the challenge and continued to deliver world-class care.
The Labor Government already makes the flu shot free for healthcare workers.
Our new laws will mean healthcare workers must be fully immunized to protect themselves and patients against the flu each year, as well as whooping cough, measles, chicken pox and hepatitis B.
All healthcare workers in public and private hospitals and ambulance services with direct patient contact will be required to be vaccinated, including doctors, nurses, paramedics, dentists, orderlies, cleaners and staff working in public sector residential aged care services.
Workers who refuse to be vaccinated may face work restrictions or be redeployed to other parts of the health service.
These laws will protect healthcare workers from preventable diseases, while also reducing the risk of transmission to the most vulnerable such as children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with chronic diseases.
In 2019, the Labor Government set a target for 84 per cent flu vaccination rate amongst healthcare workers, which was well exceeded – reaching 88 per cent across the state.
Victoria’s landmark No Jab No Play laws are making a real difference in protecting children against preventable diseases – with Victorian immunisation rates still the best in Australia.
The Labor Government is also making it easier for busy families to get the flu jab by reducing the age Victorians can receive it at a pharmacy to 10.