Queensland drops vaccination mandates for private health workers as state shifts approach to managing pandemic

Queensland workers in private healthcare facilities are no longer required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as the government says it is clear the state has reached a “new stage of the pandemic”.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard had advised of the changes, which will come into effect on Friday September 2.

“It will impact workers in private hospitals as well as workers in primary care settings like GP clinics,” she told Question Time on Thursday.

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“Where vaccination is required for these people is now the responsibility of individual employers as part of normal occupational health and safety obligations.

“I am advised that the majority of private hospital providers already have vaccination requirements in place for their staff rather than relying on public health guidelines.”

Ms D’Ath confirmed that while these changes have been made to private hospitals, workers in public hospitals and employees in care facilities for the elderly and disabled will still need to comply with current vaccination requirements.

“This revocation will not impact Queensland healthcare facilities which are already governed by employment agreements, or workers in private aged care facilities or disabled accommodation services where the mandate is retained,” she said.

She also acknowledged changes to isolation requirements and mask-wearing on flights by the National Cabinet on Wednesday afternoon.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced that Australia’s COVID-19 isolation period had been reduced from seven to five days for asymptomatic cases, effective September 9.

Masks will no longer be required on domestic flights – in what Ms D’Ath describes as a move that reflects “the evolving approach to managing the pandemic across the country”.

The peak of Queensland’s COVID-19 wave occurred in late July.

Ms D’Ath said the number of hospitalizations had dropped dramatically in the weeks since July 26 and currently stood at less than 350.

“Our Chief Health Officer, Dr John Gerrard, recently warned that a fourth wave in December is possible, however, it is clear that we are in a new stage of the pandemic,” she said. .

“Given that we will be living with this virus for years to come, we must abandon management via public health guidelines from the Chief Health Officer unless absolutely necessary.”

The Sunshine State reported 2,033 new cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of active cases to 13,510.

There are currently 308 people in hospital and 11 in intensive care.

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