AMA calls for mandatory vaccination for health care staff
The AMA is calling for mandatory vaccinations for the workforce of the entire health care system including support staff like cleaners, receptionists, and contractors as soon as practical.
The AMA says public health orders to mandate vaccinations should begin in hospitals, then the wider health system.
With worrying numbers of COVID-19-infected frontline workers furloughed and unable to work, as well as several clusters being linked to hospitals, AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid said mandatory vaccines for healthcare workers are needed to sustain the health system into the future as we learn to live with COVID-19.
“We need to bring these workers and the environment they work in, out of crisis mode and the first step towards that is to protect them through vaccination,” Dr Khorshid said.
“This is about health care worker safety and the safety of patients, and not about vaccines by force.
“AMA proposes nationally consistent public health orders of state and territory governments to authorise mandatory vaccinations across the health care system for all staff as soon as is reasonably possible.”
Dr Khorshid highlighted that there is widespread uncertainty as to whether other occupations and workplaces can also mandate vaccinations. The law needs clarity to give employers and employees certainty.
“AMA proposes nationally consistent public health orders be issued by state and territory governments to provide legal protection to any employer who can also reasonably establish worker safety would benefit from a workplace vaccine mandate. Longer term, statutory coverage may be required.”
Dr Khorshid said mandating vaccines for health care workers was the next logical step since making vaccines mandatory for aged care workers.
The AMA also backed the NSW Government’s adoption of public health orders mandating vaccines for health care workers in both public and private hospitals.