Private hospitals petition for mandatory vaccination of all healthcare workers

By Melissa Coade

August 27, 2021

The APHA has used an open letter to the prime minister, premiers and chief ministers demanding a ‘nationally consistent position’ on mandatory vaccination.
recent studies on employee-assistance programs for mental health. (Monkey Business/Adobe)

A nationwide mandate to vaccinate all hospital workers against COVID-19 is needed, according to the Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA), which has called for the national cabinet to take action.

In an open letter to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the premiers and chief ministers, the APHA has demanded a ‘nationally consistent position’ on mandatory vaccination.

Ensuring that all Australian hospital workers were vaccinated was essential, APHA CEO Michael Roff argued to ensure the health and safety of all people (employees and patients) in the health system. 

Mandatory vaccinations would also play an important role in ‘preserving the capacity of the hospital system’ going forward, he said. 

“The mobilisation of a huge health workforce to respond to COVID-19 while at the same time continuing provision of essential hospital services has relied on the cooperation of both the public and private health sectors and the willingness of healthcare workers and clinicians to step forward for difficult and sometimes dangerous work,” Roff said. 

In August, NSW health minister Brad Hazzard announced that would soon sign a public health order to mandate COVID-19 inoculation for the state’s public hospital employees including doctors, nurses, allied health staff and cleaners.

The association is asking the national cabinet to seek urgent advice on the issue from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee. The committee should rule on whether all hospital workers must be mandatorily vaccinated, they say, and also decide what limited range of exceptions would be allowed for staff to refuse the jab.

The group also wants Australia’s governments to show leadership by setting specific target dates by which time hospital staff are expected to receive their first and second doses.

The APHA points to examples of how recent COVID outbreaks in Australia has led to thousands of healthcare staff being furloughed, making hospital and other healthcare settings vulnerable to diminished capacity during times of greatest need. 

“Despite private hospitals being denied the capacity to vaccinate their own staff, many hospital providers are doing everything they can to increase vaccination rates amongst the health workforce,” Roff said.

“Clear communications, deliberate planning and coordination will be required so the level of vaccination required can be achieved in all parts of the hospital sector.”

Roff added that the APHA was calling on governments to provide those workers subject to mandatory vaccination orders to have the choice of which type of vaccine they would receive. 

“The sector needs the support and commitment of the national cabinet to achieve full vaccination of this essential workforce,” Roff said. 


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