Background

A vaccine mandate means that proof of vaccination, or an authorised medical exemption, is required in certain settings. Mandating is generally considered a late step in optimising vaccine uptake, as it is important to ensure vaccine access is available in an equitable way, before progressing to a mandate. Vaccine mandates may vary depending on the jurisdiction and there may be some variations around Australia. The following information is specific to Victoria, and refers to COVID-19 and influenza vaccine directions, as well as the ‘no jab, no play’ and ‘no jab, no pay’ policies.

Vaccine specific directions

  • COVID-19

    Vaccination against COVID-19 disease is currently recommended for all individuals aged 5 years and over. Due to the potential for high levels of disease transmission and an increased risk of severe disease in vulnerable groups, COVID-19 vaccination has been made mandatory for specific workplaces/industries within Victoria.

    Vaccination requirements

    A primary two-dose schedule plus one booster dose requirement exists for the following workers aged ≥ 18 years:

    • residential aged care, healthcare workers and disability workers
    • emergency services workers
    • specialist school workers
    • custodial workers.

    Workers in these industries aged 12 years and 2 months to age 18 are required to have undertaken a two-dose primary schedule.

    For further information refer to DH Worker Vaccination Requirements.

  • Influenza

    Vaccination against influenza disease is recommended for all individuals aged 6 months and over. Annual influenza vaccination is required for all healthcare workers who have direct contact with patients, clients, deceased persons, infectious material and surfaces or bodily fluids in the following settings:

    • public, private and denominational hospitals
    • day procedure centres
    • public health services
    • ambulance and patient transport services
    • residential aged care facilities operated by public health services.

    This is due to the increased risk of exposure to, and transmission of, influenza. Healthcare workers this order applies to are required to vaccinated against influenza by 15 August 2022 and annually thereafter.

    For further information, refer to DH: Vaccination for healthcare workers.

Policy specific vaccine directions

  • No jab, no play

    “No jab, no play” legislation was introduced by the Victorian State Government on January 1st, 2016 in an effort to improve vaccination rates and reduce the spread of vaccine preventable diseases, This legislation requires confirmation of up to date vaccination status according to the National Immunisation Program (NIP) when enrolling in all early childhood education and care services including childcare and kindergarten. This legislation does not apply to enrolment into school.

    A current Immunisation History Statement (IHS) provided by the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) is the only accepted proof of immunisation when enrolling in early childhood education and care services.

  • No jab, no pay

    “No jab, no pay” legislation was introduced by the Federal Government on July 1, 2018 altering Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A payments and childcare subsidies if a child is not up to date for age with their scheduled immunisations as per the NIP. Recipients of FTB part A or child-care fee assistance will need to meet these immunisation requirements to ensure that payments are not reduced.

Responsibilities of the employer/service provider and the employee/vaccinee

Employers and service providers are responsible for ensuring that employees/enrolees in early childhood education and care services comply with relevant orders. The employer or service provider is required to sight and store evidence of mandated vaccination status or medical exemption, if applicable.

It is the responsibility of the employee to be vaccinated against mandated vaccines for their profession or have a valid medical exemption.

It is the responsibility of individual receiving Family Tax Benefits and childcare subsidies to ensure that children are up to date with the NIP.

Medical exemptions

Exemption to vaccination can be granted to individuals following assessment by an authorised practitioner who deems deferral of vaccination to be warranted. Exemptions may be permanent or temporary.

All medical exemptions to vaccination will be recorded on the individuals Immunisation History Statement on the Australian Immunisation Register which can be accessed via myGOV.

Individuals who have previously experienced or who are at higher risk of experiencing a serious adverse event following vaccination should be referred to a specialist immunisation service. Individuals who have experienced a previous adverse event following vaccination should also be reported to SAEFVIC.

  • Permanent medical exemptions

    Anaphylaxis to a previous dose of the same vaccine or anaphylaxis to a component of the same vaccine are the only two absolute contraindications to vaccination and warrant permanent medical exemption. Permanent exemptions to some routine vaccines can also be provided when an individual has documented evidence of natural immunity against that vaccine preventable disease (eg. varicella, measles-mumps-rubella or hepatitis B).

    In addition, there is a small group of specific medical conditions precluding some individuals from receiving certain COVID-19 vaccine brands. Individuals with a history of myocarditis or pericarditis attributed to a previous dose of mRNA vaccine should not receive further COVID mRNA vaccines. Anyone with a history of capillary leak syndrome, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT), idiopathic splanchnic (mesenteric, portal or splenic vein) thrombosis, antiphospholipid syndrome (with thrombosis and/or miscarriage) should not be given Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca).  These individuals can still receive vaccination with other vaccine brands.

  • Temporary medical exemptions

    Temporary exemptions to vaccination can also be granted in circumstances such as acute major medical illness, significant immunocompromise of short duration (for live-attenuated vaccines only), the individual is pregnant (live-attenuated vaccines only). Individuals with a confirmed history of COVID-19 infection can have their COVID-19 vaccination deferred for up to 4 months).

    Children on an approved catch-up schedule will be automatically granted a grace period of 6 months to complete their outstanding vaccines and be up to date with the NIP.

Authorising providers

  • COVID-19 vaccines

    • a general practice registrar on an approved 3GA training placement
    • a public health physician
    • a general physician
    • an infectious disease physician
    • a clinical immunologist
    • a gynaecologist
    • an obstetrician
    • a general practitioner who is vocationally registered
    • a general practitioner who is a fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)
    • a general practitioner who is a fellow of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM).
  • Non COVID-19 vaccines

    General practitioners defined by the Health Insurance Act 1973 as:

    • fellows of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
    • fellows of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine
    • on Medicare’s Vocation Register of General Practitioners

    or:

    • a practice registrar on an approved 3GA training placement
    • a paediatrician
    • a public health physician
    • an infectious diseases physician
    • a clinical immunologist.

Authors: Rachael McGuire (MVEC Education Nurse Coordinator) and Francesca Machingaifa (MVEC Education Nurse Coordinator)

Date: June 25, 2022

Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre (MVEC) staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.

You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family’s personal health. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult a healthcare professional.