WA announces worker jab mandate, Hunt foreshadows booster shots starting this year

By Jackson Graham

Wednesday October 20, 2021

Mark McGowan
Western Australia has brought in mandatory requirements for most of the workforce. (Image: AAP)

As Australia passes the national vaccination double-dose target of 70%, Western Australia has brought in mandatory requirements for most of the workforce.

The state currently has about 56% of the population over 16 fully vaccinated, trailing behind other jurisdictions with faster rollouts. 

Western Australia premier Mark McGowan announced an extended vaccination mandate policy on Wednesday covering a majority of industries. 

“The policy strengthens mandates that are already in place while covering additional groups of critical occupations that have been identified as at high transmission risk,” McGowan said. 

The mandate, which covers both private and public sector workers, includes a first cohort needing to have had their first vaccination dose by December 1. 

In the public service areas include hospitals and health facilities, border control, corrective services, police, fire and emergency services, but not volunteers. 

A second group required to have their first jab by the end of the year includes workers in child care, schools, post offices, public transport, among other private sector fields. 

A third group is required to have both vaccinations in the event of a lockdown or similar restrictions being implemented in WA and includes members of parliament and staff. 

Tasmania and Victoria are expected to pass the 70% double-dose target in coming days, while NSW and the ACT have passed the 80% target. 

Nationally Australia transitioned into phase b of the national roadmap on Wednesday as it passed the 70% target, which federal health minister Greg Hunt applauded. 

“To Australians I want to say thank you and congratulations, but keep going,” Hunt said. 

Hunt also said that discussions about booster shots were at an advanced stage with the Therapeutics Goods Administration receiving information on boosters from Pfizer and ATAGI considering advice. 

He anticipated booster vaccinations would be rolled out in two stages, firstly in aged care starting in the second week of November and then for the general population. 

He said he expected boosters to be available for the general population this year. 

Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said he met with ATAGI on Tuesday to look at data from booster programs worldwide and particularly from Israel. 

“We were able to look at the data that has come out from Israel yesterday. It very much confirms this is safe, that it is effective in all age groups,” Kelly said. 

Kelly also raised news about an AY.4.2 variant, named “Delta Plus” in the UK, but said it was not a new variant nor a variant of concern. 

“It is not a variant even of interest at the moment,” he said. 

“But we continue to have that very close vigilance of the international situation to watch out for what next variant may come from this virus.” 

“The situation in the UK is there is a lot of circulating virus there, mainly in teenagers, they’ve recommenced school. 

“Very importantly there has not been the same sort of rise as there has been previously in the UK in relation to hospitalisation or death. And that’s because the vaccination rollout in the UK has also been very successful.”


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