As the AstraZeneca and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines roll out across Australia, many people are looking for guidance around how the vaccinations are likely to impact the workplace. The vaccines are being rolled out in five priority stages, so most employers can assume that they cannot aquire or facilitate employee vaccination at this stage.

Will the vaccination be mandatory in the workplace? 

Vaccination for COVID-19 is voluntary in Australia, although the Australian Government aims to vaccinate as many Australians against COVID-19 as possible. The Queensland Government issued a health direction in late March outlining the circumstances in which an employer can require employees to be vaccinated. These circumstances affect:

  • Health service employees
  • Queensland Ambulance Service employees
  • Hospital and health service contactors.

Read the full Health Direction.

At this stage there have not been any public health orders enabling mandated vaccination by any other Australian state or territory.

What can workplaces expect as vaccines rollout? 

From the outset of the pandemic, Australian employers and employees have worked together throughout significant changes to the workplace. Employers have been able to accommodate employees' needs by taking a collaborative approach and trialing different solutions. As the vaccines roll out across Australia, employers will need to continue working with employees to find solutions for their individual workplaces and facilitate vaccination.

How can I keep my workplace and employees safe? 

Key considerations for workplace safety during this time include:

Conducting a risk assessment

Workplaces should assess the workplace health and safety risks posed by COVID-19 and have adequate measures in place to manage these risks. Depending on your industry, this could include Covid-19 screening, employee education, implementation of physical distancing measures and more.

Cleaning and hygiene

Workplaces should have implemented measures to ensure employees are meeting handwashing and hygiene requirements in the workplace in order to stop the spread. In addition to this, cleaning and disinfection of office spaces should be undertaken regularly to protect workers from exposure.

Social distancing

Workplaces must implement physical distancing measures in the workplace in order to manage the risk of workplaces spreading COVID-19.

Workplace Health Services for COVID-19

At the onset of COVID-19, Sonic HealthPlus coordinated a dedicated Pandemic Preparedness team, whose sole focus is remaining fully conversant with the latest COVID-19 related movements. The team provide a range of services to support workplaces in remaining safe and compliant, including:

  • Occupational Physicians or Corporate Health Doctors can be engaged to provide your company with expert consultancy advice on prevention, risk mitigation and management.
  • A bespoke service that assists you to screen your workforce identifying and protecting your vulnerable workers.
  • COVID-19 Doctor on Call (DOC).
  • Screening services, including telehealth consultations, a clinical questionnaire and temperature recording for each staff member prior to entering the workplace, and in some cases PCR testing.
  • Workplace education.

Learn more about our workplace health services for COVID-19.

References

Read the full Health Direction.

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The Pandemic Preparedness Team (PPT) has recommended the suspension of spirometry and saliva (oral fluid) drug testing services in our Victorian clinics until further notice.

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