The Immunisation Coalition (IC) welcomes the announcement by Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos, to introduce mandatory influenza Vaccination for workers in high-risk areas including intensive care units, emergency wards, neonatal intensive care units and cancer wards.
Immunisation Coalition Chairman Robert Booy: “This is a great first step and good news for Victorian healthcare workers and their patients, and we hope other states will follow Victoria’s lead. The IC has supported the concept of mandatory healthcare worker vaccination for many years.”
The Immunisation Coalition supports mandatory healthcare worker vaccination across all healthcare settings and the development of a formal national guideline that positions vaccination as a condition of employment when working in patient contact roles. This condition should be implemented in combination with strict criteria for exemptions and the wearing of surgical masks during the influenza season for those granted these exemptions.
CEO Kim Sampson: “We are supporting the development of a national standardised system of vaccination surveillance and implementation across all healthcare settings. While it is a great first step to see frontline staff in Victoria’s public hospitals required to get the flu jab under new regulations, it is important to look at the bigger picture and include all healthcare sectors.”
Currently about 83 per cent of hospital staff across the state have been vaccinated against the flu, while at the Royal Children’s Hospital the number was believed to be hovering at about 88 per cent.
The IC calls for healthcare workers, allied health and ancillary staff members and their employers to recognise their duty and responsibility to protect themselves, their contacts and their patients from influenza.
Seasonal influenza remains the leading cause of annual vaccine-preventable disease, associated hospitalisation and death in Australia. The immunisation of healthcare workers plays a significant role in preventing nosocomial transmission in healthcare settings. Although some voluntary healthcare worker vaccination programs have been effective when combined with strong institutional leadership and robust educational campaigns, the rates of influenza vaccination amongst healthcare workers in Australia remain suboptimal, especially in nursing homes. This influenza season a large number of nursing homes have been in lock down – 18 alone in South Australia.
Non-immunised healthcare workers put themselves and their patients at risk. Therefore the IC supports the concept of mandatory vaccination to protect healthcare workers and their patients from influenza, across all healthcare settings. 1. The IC believes that the health system should embrace healthcare worker vaccination as a core safety practice to protect staff and patients.
- Chiu C, Dey A, Wang H, Menzies R, Deeks S, Mahajan D, et al. Vaccine preventable diseases in Australia, 2005- Commun DisIntell 2010: 34: S1–167
Page published: 7 August 2019