Western Australia to ease 'overarching' vaccine mandate for most employees

Date set for lifting of requirement except for certain high-risk industries

Western Australia to ease 'overarching' vaccine mandate for most employees

The government of Western Australia has announced it is lifting its "overarching" mandatory vaccination policy for most workers starting June 10.

In a statement, the government said vaccine requirements for all workforces are now lifted, except for those working with the most vulnerable including:

  • Healthcare and health support workers in hospitals and primary health care settings
  • Workers in residential aged care
  • Workers in residential disability settings

This means workers under the sectors mentioned above must receive triple doses of the COVID-19 vaccine before they are permitted to work.

"It is especially important that we continue to protect the most vulnerable members of our community, as we have done throughout the pandemic, which is why the latest health advice is that vaccine mandates should remain for some high-risk workplaces," said Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson in a statement.

According to the state government, changes to the vaccine mandates are in line with national advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.

The lifting on June 10 was scheduled to give employers time to work through changes in their workforces, read the government announcement.

Western Australia implemented its mandatory vaccine settings back on December 1, 2021, in a phased approach, citing the need to safeguard essential services and businesses. It resulted in some employees being laid off, with some departing voluntarily due to non-compliance with the regulation.

In its announcement, the state government said some employers are already in contact with around 500 of these former employees in the public sector, outlining the next steps for their individual situations ahead of the policy change.

Read more: WA's new work health and safety laws takes effect

Despite the easing of vaccine mandates, the government gave the greenlight to some public sector agencies who may want to introduce temporary specific workplace health and safety arrangements considering the nature of their work.

Premier Mark McGowan said in a statement that Western Australia's "world-leading" vaccination rates were crucial in delivering the state's soft landing from the Omicron wave, which significantly reduced serious illnesses and hospitalisations as well as limited the number of COVID-related casualties.

However, McGowan still called for caution as the state is not only in the middle of an Omicron wave, but also due to the upcoming flu season.

"We're still in the midst of this Omicron wave and coupled with this upcoming flu season, it's vital [that] people take every precaution, follow the health advice, keep up mask wearing as necessary, ensure they are up to date with the COVID-19 and flu vaccines, and maintain handwashing and sanitising," he said.

"The State Government has introduced free flu vaccines for everyone this June to give people more opportunities to take up the vaccine to protect themselves and their loved ones."

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