Information for healthcare workers who are receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is available on COVID-19 vaccination: information for the NSW community

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Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation guidance

Contraindication forms

The forms below should only be completed by medical practitioners if:

  • A person has a medical contraindication to receiving any available COVID-19 vaccine; or
  • A person has a temporary medical contraindication to any available COVID-19 vaccine (note, a temporary exemption is only available for a maximum of 6 months. If the condition persists beyond 6 months, a contraindication form will need to be completed again). Examples of reasons for a temporary exemption include:
    • Treatment resulting in significant immunocompromise
    • Recent history of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PCR confirmed)
    • Acute medical illness.

If a person has had COVID-19 and has fully recovered, there is no need to delay vaccination. unless the person has received an anti-SARS-COV-2 monoclonal antibody or convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19. In this case vaccination should to be delayed until at least 90 days following treatment completion.

A medical clearance notice may have been provided to a patient following their acute illness, which may be used as a temporary exemption from vaccination for 6 weeks only.

Medical practitioners should consult the latest ATAGI clinical guidance for further information on medical contraindications:

To provide a patient with proof of medical contraindication to COVID-19 vaccination, medical practitioners may use:

Recording a medical contraindication to COVID-19 vaccines in the Australian Immunisation Register

The Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) immunisation medical exemption form permits the recording of a temporary or permanent contraindication to any or all the three COVID-19 vaccines available for use in Australia (Vaxzevria, Spikevax and Comirnaty).

The AIR immunisation medical exemption form is recognised as an acceptable form for recording a medical contraindication to COVID-19 vaccination in NSW, in addition to the currently accepted NSW COVID-19 vaccine medical contraindication form. However, under NSW public health orders, in order to be considered to have a medical contraindication to COVID-19 vaccination, a temporary or permanent contraindication to all available COVID-19 vaccines in NSW must be present.

Anyone who has already been issued with the NSW medical contraindication form will be encouraged to speak to their medical practitioner about getting their medical contraindication to COVID-19 vaccination added to their immunisation record on the AIR. Guidance for medical practitioners on recording immunisation medical exemptions on the AIR is available from the Australian Government Department of Health here.

Adverse events following immunisation

Serious Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI) are notifiable conditions in NSW. Healthcare providers are required to report all uncommon, serious or unexpected AEFI or any event felt to be significant following immunisation to their local Public Health Unit. More information is available at How do I report an AEFI?.

NSW Health is monitoring the safety of the COVID-19 vaccination program using existing surveillance systems, along with:

  • specialist clinical advice regarding investigation and management of suspected adverse events through the NSW Immunisation Specialist Service (NSWISS)
  • convening a NSW Health COVID-19 Safety Expert Panel of immunisation and other clinical specialists, to review serious or unexpected adverse events following immunisation (AEFIs)
  • establishing an inquiry under the Public Health Act 2010
  • assisting with causality assessments through the national Vaccine Safety Investigation Group (VSIG)
  • benchmarking and information sharing with international partners.

Thrombosis with thrombocytopaenia syndrome

Thrombosis with thrombocytopaenia syndrome is a rare adverse event following immunisation. Our understanding of this condition is evolving and it is important to check back regularly for clinical updates.

Information for clinicians about this syndrome is available at:

AEFI reporting

AEFI management

COVID-19 vaccine safety surveillance

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Frequently asked questions

Will I still need to wear PPE at work and follow the COVID safe rules in my daily life?

Australia will still need to continue with the measures already in place to control COVID-19. If the vaccine program is effective in decreasing community transmission and starting to reach a high proportion of people, it is hoped that we will be able to reduce some of these control measures. As the COVID-19 vaccine starts to be administered in NSW, it is essential that all healthcare workers maintain vigilance for COVID-19 and ensure they continue to follow infection prevention and control measures at work and COVID safe behaviours in their daily lives. It is essential to keep these practices in place to prevent spread of the virus until everyone can be adequately protected against COVID-19.

You will still need to be tested if you become sick with symptoms that could be caused by COVID-19.

Will vaccinations be mandatory for people working in health facilities in NSW?

The Public Health (COVID-19 Vaccination of Health Care Workers) Order 2021 requires health care workers to have their first dose COVID-19 vaccination by 30 September and second dose by 30 November, unless they have a medical contraindication form signed by a medical practitioner.

The Order applies to:

  • in the public sector, people who work for the NSW Health Service, for a public health organisation, the Health Administration Corporation and Ambulance Service of NSW, as well as staff of the Ministry of Health
  • in the private sector a person who does work in a private health facility, being a private hospital or day procedure centre
  • in the private sector, registered paramedics whose work involves transporting, or assessing whether to transport, people to and from a public or private health facility.

Work is defined broadly to cover employees, contractors, VMOs, visiting practitioners, volunteers and students undertaking clinical placements.

The Order does not however include private primary care providers such as GPs.

Some NSW Health staff are subject to other Public Health Orders requiring first dose vaccination from earlier dates. For more specific information, contact your Health organisation.

  • Staff working in residential aged care are subject to a Public Health Order requiring first dose COVID-19 vaccination by 17 September.
  • Staff who live in one of the 12 LGAs of concern in Greater Sydney are required to have received a first dose COVID-19 vaccination by 6 September 2021 if they are an authorised worker and leave their LGA of concern to attend work.

More information

Current as at: Monday 22 November 2021
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW