New Emergency Management Act Direction mandates COVID vaccinations for health care settings

8 October 2021

People working in health care settings will need to have at least one COVID-19 vaccination dose by November 1 in order to continue working.

The ANMF (SA Branch) was notified yesterday that the State Government had issued a new Emergency Management (Healthcare Setting Workers Vaccination (COVID-19) Direction 2021. Please view the Direction here.
The Direction, which came into effect on Thursday, October 7, requires that a person may not engage in work or perform duties in a health care setting (including a public or private hospital) from 1 November 2021, unless the person has received at least 1 dose of TGA-approved COVID-19 vaccination; and the person has evidence of a booking to receive a second dose (within one month of receiving the first dose).

We are also advised that a further similar Direction will be made next week that will have the same effect in community and primary health care settings, GP clinics and pharmacies.

SA Health has provided some initial responses to expected questions related to the new Direction. They can be found on the FAQ attachment on the SA Government website here.

The ANMF (SA Branch) is seeking an urgent meeting with SA Health executives to discuss the impact that this Direction may have on our members. This follows similar Government Directions interstate. That meeting will take place early next week and we will keep members informed of any new information that we obtain.

The ANMF is also aware that private health care providers Calvary Health Care and Healthscope have recently notified staff of COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

The new South Australian Direction applies to all persons engaging in work or duties at a (defined) health care setting including clinicians, ambulance workers, allied health workers, cleaners, administrative and executive staff and students undertaking placement, regardless of whether they work in a patient or a non-patient area.

There are a limited number of exemptions which can be sought but the processes and criteria have been tightened significantly. The criteria include where a person has a medical certificate from a medical practitioner certifying that he or she has a medical exemption from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine on either a permanent or temporary basis in accordance with guidelines published by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).

The person must specify the nature of the exemption and this must be approved by the Chief Public Health Officer or delegate.

Pregnancy is not a stated medical exemption. We encourage members to discuss further with their medical practitioner.

The ANMF is aware that due to the recent emergence of COVID-19 and subsequent prioritised development of COVID-19 vaccines, some nurses and midwives have personal and health concerns about the vaccines.

We will continue to update members once we have had an opportunity to discuss with SA Health.

The ANMF supports vaccination and strongly encourages all health care workers to be vaccinated if there is no medical contraindication. Please view our vaccination position statement here.

For further information about the vaccines go to ANMFSA COVID-19 Resources.