Sat 3 Dec 2022 1:12AM

Covid Mandate Update as of Dec 2022

JE Jason Emmins Public Seen by 29

We have been keeping an eye out for updates on the Covid Mandates specifically for workers within the disability sector. Following an update of the NSW Covid Mandate (particularly relating to the vaccinations), we thought it was timely to send an update to you all.

Please see below summary (and please note we have not discussed this yet at the Covid Jedlet, Risk Jedi or Nest/Bored at this stage):

  • NSW-

    • Vaccination-

      • as of 12.01am 1 December, there are no public health orders in force in NSW that mandate COVID-19 vaccination. The Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order (n 3) 2022, which outlined vaccination requirement for aged care and disability workers to aged care facilities, ceased at the end of 30 November 2022. Some workplaces may still require mandatory vaccination against COVID-19 under their own applicable work, health and safety obligations. Employers should take all reasonable steps to ensure compliance with any vaccination obligations.  

      • Please click on link for more info- Vaccination requirements for workers | NSW Government.

    • Other information to consider-

      • It is no longer mandatory to self-isolate if you test positive to Covid 19, but it is recommended you stay home and take steps to protect others. If you test positive on a rapid antigen test (RAT) please register this with Service NSW. Voluntary registering you result can help you access medical support from NSW Health, including antiviral medicines if you are eligible.

      • Please click on link for more info- COVID-19 (Coronavirus) (nsw.gov.au)

  • QLD

    • Vaccinations

  • From 6 p.m. Monday 31 October 2022, there are no Public Health Directions in effect requiring you to be vaccinated in high risk settings, including:

    • early childhood, primary and secondary education

    • prisons, youth detention centres and watch houses

    • airports

    • residential aged care facilities

    • shared disability accommodation services

    • primary care, private hospitals and private allied health services

  • Decisions on mandatory vaccinations will instead be made by the owner or operator of these settings.

  • Please click on link for more info- COVID-19 vaccination for workers | Health and wellbeing | Queensland Government (www.qld.gov.au)

  • Other information to consider-  

    • Visiting high-risk settings

      • Face masks

      • Other considerations

        • Some settings and workplaces are considered higher risk because there are people more vulnerable or at higher risk of severe disease or higher risk of widespread transmission of COVID-19.

·        In Queensland, high-risk setting includes:

·        at least 7 days have passed since you received a positive COVID-19 test result and

·        you no longer have any symptoms.

  • There are specific considerations for facility operators and staff in these settings to manage the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Operators may impose restrictions or conditions to reduce the risks in that setting, such as:

·        isolation processes for patients and residents

·        conditions or restrictions for staff returning to work after a COVID-19 infection

·        restrictions on visitors attending the high-risk setting, such as a requirement to wear a face mask or take other precautions.

  • If you are a patient or resident of a high-risk setting and you have tested positive to COVID-19 or have any symptoms of an acute respiratory infection you should notify your facility so they can appropriately implement local processes to reduce the risk of transmission within the facility.

  • You should comply with any additional requirements or conditions put in place by an operator to reduce widespread transmission of COVID-19 in a high-risk setting.

  • If you have tested positive to COVID-19 within the previous 7 days or have any symptoms of an acute respiratory infection and there are extenuating compassionate reasons for visiting a high-risk setting (e.g., an end-of-life visit), you should contact the facility to discuss how this can be safely arranged.

  • There are no restrictions or limitations when entering a high-risk facility if you require medical care, are giving birth or are a birthing support person, or if you are receiving, or supporting someone to receive, aged care or disability services.

  • However, you should advise the facility you have tested positive for COVID-19 or have acute respiratory symptoms. You should follow any directions provided to manage the risk to protect patients, residents, clients, visitors and staff.

  • Outside of the facilities and services mentioned above, you should consider what extra precautions and personal actions you can take to protect vulnerable family or community members, such as wearing a face mask even if you are well, cleaning your hands regularly, and staying away and testing if you have any acute respiratory symptoms.

  • Entering or returning to work in a high-risk workplace or setting

o   If you work in a high-risk setting and have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you should only return to your workplace if:

·        at least 7 days have passed since you received a positive COVID-19 test result and

·        your acute respiratory symptoms and fever have resolved, apart from mild residual symptoms such as a mild dry cough and

·        you comply with any additional infection control procedures required by your employer.

  • If you have tested positive to COVID-19 and work in a high-risk setting, you should work from home where practicable. You should talk to your employer to discuss options available to you and any additional measures to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 transmission in your workplace.

  • Casual workers in some setting may be eligible for targeted financial support. To check if you are eligible visit Services Australia.

  • Please click on link for more info- Visiting high-risk settings | Health and wellbeing | Queensland Government (www.qld.gov.au)

  • VIC

    • Vaccinations-

      • Because of their occupation, healthcare workers are more likely to be exposed to, acquire and transmit vaccine-preventable diseases such as COVID-19, influenza, measles, rubella and pertussis.

      • To protect the health and safety of patients and other healthcare workers, and to maintain immunity in the healthcare worker population, vaccination for certain diseases is highly recommended for all healthcare workers.

      • Certain vaccines are now required for some healthcare workers, and recommended for other workers, depending on the likelihood of their contact with certain vaccine-preventable diseases. Work activities, rather than job title, have been considered to ensure each healthcare worker has the right level of protection.

      • Legislation

        • On 25 March 2020, the Health Services Amendment (Mandatory Vaccination of Healthcare Workers) Act 2020 came into effect.

        • The amendment inserted sections into the Health Services Act 1988 and Ambulance Services Act 1986 that enable the Secretary of the Department of Health to direct health and ambulance services to require vaccination against selected vaccine-preventable diseases to better protect Victorians and create a safer healthcare system. Secretary Directions are issued when a vaccine is required for certain healthcare workers.

        • The Mental Health Act 2014 allows the Minister for Mental Health to issue a written direction on any matter that the Minister is satisfied is necessary, including requiring vaccinations for healthcare workers. Ministerial Directions are issued when a vaccine is required for Forensicare employees.

      • Please click on link for more information- Vaccination for healthcare workers

  • Other information to consider-

    • Health Services Act 1988 Definition:

      • Health or related service-

        • A registered funded agency, multi purpose service or health service establishment, or

        • A registered community health centre, or

        • A women’s health services listed in schedule 6, or

        • An other person, body or organisation that provides, delivers, funds, facilitates access or provides insurance in relation to health services, being services that include, but are not limited to:

          • Aged care services, or

          • Palliative care services, or

          • Disability services, or

          • Pharmaceutical services, or

          • Ambulance services, or

          • Health services in association with correctional services, or

          • Residential aged care services, or

          • The Victoria Institute of Forensic Mental Health, or

          • Any other prescribed health or related service.

  • TAS

    • Vaccinations-

      • Effective from 1 July 2022, there are no longer requirements under the Public Health Act 1997 for any workers to be vaccinated.

      • Public Health continues to strongly recommend that all eligible Tasmanians stay up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations.

      • A workplace may require employees to be vaccinated to attend work, if it has identified that this is a reasonable measure to implement based on the workplace’s COVID-19 risk assessment.

      • Please click on the link for more information- Vaccination requirements | Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

    • Other information to consider-  

      • COVID-19 is a workplace hazard that presents risks to our health and safety, and to business continuity.

      • Employers have duties under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 to manage the risks of COVID-19, just as they do any other workplace hazard.

      • While the Public Health Emergency Declaration for COVID-19 ended on 30 June 2022, it does not mean the responsibilities of employers have ended. Rather it represents a transition of responsibility away from Public Health and back into the hands of businesses to determine appropriate controls to provide a safe working environment for their business.

      • Please click on the link for more info- Coronavirus (COVID-19) (worksafe.tas.gov.au)

There is also some further information available specifically for disability workers-  Information for disability workers about COVID-19 vaccines | Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care.  

Covid 19 is still very much present within the community, we encourage you to continue to take precautions and put the safety of yourself and others at the forefront of the work we do. We have a COVID Safety Plan which will need reviewing soon to ensure we (as an organisation) are taking the necessary steps to ensure we have appropriate mechanisms in place for the safety/wellbeing of our members.  We will put up a Loomio Poll to review this document over the next few weeks/months.

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.


Kaeleen Hunter Sat 3 Dec 2022 1:34AM

appreciate your work in this space Jason - one of the most challenging in my experience both personally and professionally so value this update 🙂


Michaela Kennedy Sun 4 Dec 2022 10:52PM

Thanks Jason, I also really appreciate this update. It has been a very difficult time and personally I'm so glad it is over. I am still and always will be dedicated to everyone staying healthy and safe while choice and control is maintained.