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 protects against developing severe disease that may lead to hospital admission, intensive care or even death. Due to the occupational risk for disease exposure and transmission as well as having increased contact with vulnerable groups, workers in the following settings must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (regardless of whether they have patient contact or not):

    • public, private and denominational hospitals
    • public health services
    • private day procedure centres
    • ambulance services
    • patient transport services engaged by a health service or Ambulance Victoria
    • residential aged care services that are operated by public health services.

    To be considered fully vaccinated, individuals ≥ 18 years must have completed a primary schedule of COVID-19 vaccination plus a booster dose and those aged < 18 years must have completed a primary schedule.

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

  • Influenza

    Influenza vaccination is recommended for all individuals aged 6 months and over. Due to an increased risk of exposure to, and transmission of influenza disease it is mandatory that workers in the following settings are vaccinated against influenza annually (regardless of whether they have patient contact or not):

    • public, private and denominational hospitals
    • public health services
    • private day procedure centres
    • ambulance services
    • patient transport services engaged by a health service or Ambulance Victoria
    • residential aged care services that are operated by public health services
    • Forensicare.

    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 are a small group of specific medical conditions precluding some individuals from receiving certain COVID-19 vaccine brands. For more information refer to MVEC: VicSIS.

  • 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

    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)

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

Date: October 18, 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.