Daniel Andrews announces major change to Victoria’s booster vaccine mandate – and it will affect thousands of workers
Covid booster deadline for key workers in Victoria extended by one month
Health workers must provide evidence of vaccination status or exemption
About 48 per cent of Victorians over 18 have received a vaccine booster
By Padraig Collins For Daily Mail Australia and Emily Woods In Melbourne For Australian Associated Press
Published: 06:55 GMT, 10 February 2022 | Updated: 06:55 GMT, 10 February 2022
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will give thousands of key workers another four weeks to get their third dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, after the state’s top doctor extended the deadline.
The state recorded 16 Covid-19 deaths on Thursday, along with 9,391 new cases, including 6,045 from rapid antigen tests and 3,346 from PCR tests.
Victoria is managing 55,946 total active cases, while there are 543 patients in hospital with the virus. Of these, 75 are in intensive care and 23 on ventilation.
Covid screening nurse Grace Gibney gets one a Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine in Melbourne
In the daily update on Thursday afternoon, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton announced the key worker booster deadline will be extended by one month.
This means health and aged care, emergency, disability, quarantine and food distribution workers who were eligible for a third dose before January 12 will now have until March 12 to receive their booster.
Workers in those sectors who became eligible after January 12 must have received their third dose vaccine by March 29.
All healthcare workers eligible for a booster shot before March 12 must provide evidence of their vaccination status or a medical exemption to continue working, the CHO update said.
Employers must also confirm that an employee has received their third dose and keep a record of workers’ third dose vaccination status.
About 48 per cent of Victorians over 18 have received a vaccine booster after 14,863 doses were administered at state-run hubs on Wednesday.
Mr Andrews has previously revealed his state may ban people from going out to pubs, clubs, restaurants and major events unless they’re triple vaccinated – if the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation updates its advice.
He has flagged the restrictions could also apply for international tourists who aren’t triple-vaxxed.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said his state may ban people from going out to pubs, clubs, restaurants and major events unless they’re triple vaccinated
But experts have warned it may be ‘too soon’ to mandate a third vaccination for overseas arrivals.
‘In many parts of the world they haven’t had access even to the first dose, let alone the booster, so it would be a very restrictive thing to bring in if we made that booster mandatory for travellers right now,’ Director of Infectious Diseases at Mater Health Services, Associate Professor Paul Griffin told 3AW.
‘I think, given obviously we’ve got Covid in our country, we need to be mindful of what we’re trying to achieve – just to make sure we don’t get our hospitals overrun.
‘I think making two doses mandatory for those travellers will be sufficient to do that in the first instance.’
AstraZeneca has been provisionally approved for booster shots in Australia
Australia’s medical regulator has given provisional approval to the AstraZeneca booster shot being made available for people aged 18 or over, with scientists saying getting a different jab to your initial two can help immunity sky-rocket.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) provisionally approved Vaxzevria – the vaccine’s official name – as a booster, which means the decision to get an AstraZeneca third jab can now be made in consultation with a medical professional.
The mRNA vaccines which have previously been approved in Australia, Pfizer and Moderna, are still the preferred booster doses, regardless of the primary vaccine a person received, the TGA said.
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