The Queensland government has announced its plans to end the Covid-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers by the end of the month. State Health Minister Shannon Fentiman revealed that acting Chief Health Officer Dr Catherine McDougall recommended that the mandate, which has been in effect since 2021, is no longer necessary.
“The Queensland government took very strong action to keep people safe during the pandemic,” said Fentiman.
The decision to revoke the Covid-19 vaccine mandate aligns with the state’s approach to influenza. Fentiman pointed out that there are no vaccination requirements for the flu, but it is strongly advised. She explained that this policy change reflects a “return to normality” and is supported by the high vaccination rates and community immunity.
The shift is expected to take effect from 25 September after a required consultation period. Queensland Health director-general Michael Walsh stated that healthcare professionals who were previously terminated or resigned due to vaccine mandates will have the opportunity to reapply for roles within Queensland Health. Since the implementation of the mandate, around 1,200 dismissals have occurred due to non-compliance.
In addition to ending the vaccine mandate, there have been changes to the work exclusion period for healthcare workers who test positive for Covid-19. Starting today, the exclusion period will be reduced from seven days to five.
This decision comes as the state continues to make progress in managing the Covid-19 situation. With high vaccination rates and ongoing efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus, Queensland is confident in taking steps towards a return to normalcy. The government acknowledges the dedication and hard work of healthcare workers throughout the pandemic and appreciates their commitment to keeping the community safe.
The Queensland government understands that individual choices regarding vaccination can vary and respects the rights of individuals to make decisions about their own health. As the situation evolves, the government will continue to monitor and assess the need for any further measures.
Overall, the announcement of ending the Covid-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers signifies a transition towards a more normal state of affairs in Queensland. With widespread vaccination and community immunity, the government believes it is appropriate to lift the mandate and allow individuals to make their own choices regarding vaccination. The government remains committed to the health and safety of its citizens and will continue to adapt its strategies as needed.