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NSW Health Workers No Longer Required to Comply with COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Despite the end of a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for health workers and students in New South Wales (NSW), high-risk and new staff are still required to take one dose of the seasonal flu vaccine to be considered compliant.

A new policy directive issued by NSW Health, as seen by The Epoch Times, has removed the requirement after nearly three years.

“COVID-19 vaccination changed from required to strongly recommended for all NSW Health workers,” the policy dated May 16 states (pdf).

However, high-risk staff are still required to take the flu vaccine, along with a number of other shots, according to the health department.

“All Category A workers and new recruits are required to receive one dose of the seasonal influenza vaccine annually to be considered compliant,” the department states.

“Category A workers and new recruits who are non-compliant with seasonal influenza vaccination must comply with all other infection control risk reduction strategies as directed while working in a Category A position.”

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These Category A staff include all new students and those working in specific departments. High-risk staff are also required to get additional vaccines according to the policy directive.

Category B staff have different requirements and are only recommended, not required, to get specific vaccines.

New recruits are obligated to comply with the policy directive at their own expense, while existing employees can get vaccinations as needed at no cost.

“Ongoing compliance includes a diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (dTpa) booster every 10 years,” the policy states.

Exceptions are allowed for new staff with medical contraindications to vaccines, subject to a risk assessment and providing evidence.

The new policy follows NSW Health announcing in March consultations with staff, health unions, and local health districts regarding changes to mandatory COVID-19 requirements for healthcare workers.

Chief health officer Dr. Kerry Chant emphasized the importance of vaccination even after the mandate was lifted, especially for those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

The vaccine mandate was established in 2021 during the pandemic to safeguard staff, families, patients, and visitors. An updated COVID-19 vaccine advice by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends specific dosing regimens based on age and health status.

The federal budget allocates funds for ongoing access to vaccines, including support for the national COVID-19 vaccine program and other vaccination initiatives.

Services Australia has provided financial compensation to individuals who experienced adverse effects from COVID-19 vaccines, indicating ongoing support for those affected.

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