Compulsory vaccinations a shot in the arm for all Victorian healthcare workers

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By Grant McArthur | Herald Sun

All Victorian nurses, doctors and other frontline healthcare workers will have to have annual flu shots and be fully vaccinated under tough new mandatory laws. And they will face repercussions if they don’t comply.

Frontline nurses, doctors and paramedics will have to undergo flu shots and be fully vaccinated to work in Victoria’s health system under new laws being introduced to parliament.

The tough mandatory vaccination measures being introduced by the Andrews Government mean any healthcare workers face the prospect of work restrictions or being shifted into other jobs where they have no contact with patients.

Under legislation being introduced by Health Minister Jenny Mikakos on Wednesday healthcare workers will have to be fully immunised to protect themselves and patients against the flu each year, as well as whooping cough, measles, chickenpox and hepatitis B.

The compulsory vaccinations will apply to workers in public and private hospitals, as well as paramedics, dentists, orderlies, cleaners and staff working in public sector residential aged care service who have direct contact with patients.

“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,” Ms Mikakos said.

“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.”

Victorian healthcare workers are provided with free flu shot free for healthcare workers as part of efforts to increase vaccinations rates in the sector, which saw 88 per cent of workers gain a flu jab last year.

But the state’s hospitals still faced a record flu season last year with 69,000 confirmed cases of influenza.

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