Under new Victorian laws, it is now mandatory for all frontline healthcare workers to be vaccinated against the flu, chicken pox, hepatitis B, measles and whooping cough.
These laws apply to workers in public and private hospitals and ambulance services with direct patient contact, including doctors, nurses, paramedics, dentists, orderlies, cleaners, as well as staff working in public sector residential aged care services.
Workers who refuse to be vaccinated can face work restrictions or redeployment to other parts of the health service.
The Victorian government says these laws will protect healthcare workers from preventable diseases and reduce the risk of transmission to the most vulnerable such as children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with chronic diseases.
Last year, an unprecedented 69,000-plus laboratory-confirmed flu cases were recorded in the state.
“We are taking the fight against the flu and other preventable diseases further by making vaccination compulsory for healthcare workers,” Victorian Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos said in a media release.
“Last year’s flu season was our worst on record – highlighting why it’s so important our staff are protected against infectious diseases, so they can continue to provide the best care for patients.
“Ensuring our dedicated healthcare workers are vaccinated provides them with a greater level of personal protection, while also reducing the spread of diseases to vulnerable patients.”