25 March 2024

NSW Health is consulting with staff, health unions, and local health districts about proposed changes to mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements for healthcare workers.

NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant said if consultation leads to any change to the current COVID-19 vaccination mandate, NSW Health will continue to strongly recommend all its workers stay up to date with their vaccinations, in line with our advice for the broader community.

“COVID-19 vaccination continues to provide strong protection against severe illness, particularly for people at higher risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19, including older adults and those with underlying health conditions,” Dr Chant said.

“While the latest evidence shows most people have now developed protection from serious disease due to vaccination and/or previous infection, COVID-19 remains a serious public health issue.”

The latest advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), recommends:

  • a COVID-19 vaccination every six months for all adults aged 75 years and over
  • a COVID-19 vaccination every 12 months for adults aged 65 – 74 years, and adults aged 18 – 64 with severe immunocompromise; these people can consider a vaccination every 6 months
  • a COVID-19 vaccination every 12 months can be considered for all other adults aged 18 – 64 years, and those aged 5 -18 years with severe immunocompromise.

In August 2021, during the pandemic, NSW Health introduced mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for all healthcare workers to protect staff and their families, patients, visitors, and the broader community.

Under the current work health and safety framework for infectious disease screening and vaccination, NSW Health workers are required to have had at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine unless they have a medical contraindication. However, as with all public health policy, NSW Health conducts regular reviews to ensure policy reflects the latest expert advice.

The community is encouraged to maintain their vaccination status in line with ATAGI advice and take precautions to protect themselves and others from infection.

Evidence also shows that, for the recently circulating Omicron variants, vaccination prevents transmission only for short periods of time. The use of infection prevention and control practices continues to help prevent transmission in healthcare settings.

We will continue to keep staff informed of any changes to mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements arising from the consultation period and thank them for their ongoing, outstanding efforts in keeping the community safe and well.