COVID-19 vaccination requirements for high risk workplaces

Workers in some industries and high-risk settings must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

These industries and high-risk settings include:

  • workers entering education settings, including:
    • schools
    • kindergartens
    • childcare centres
  • workers entering correctional and detention facilities, including:
    • prisons
    • youth detention centres
  • workers entering airports
  • healthcare workers who enter healthcare settings, such as:
    • public hospitals
    • private hospitals
    • residential aged care facilities
    • shared disability accommodation services
    • aged care services
    • general practitioner offices
    • pharmacies
    • optometrists
    • dental surgeries
    • community health clinics
    • blood collection centres.

These settings are all places:

  • where there is a higher risk of transmission of COVID-19 due to the nature of the setting and the way in which services are provided
  • that a high number of vulnerable persons use or access
  • where the impacts of COVID-19 cases could unexpectedly reduce continuity of critical services to the community.


There are exceptions for emergency work, such as an unvaccinated plumber entering a hospital to perform emergency repairs to a burst pipe. If you do enter for an emergency, you’ll need to notify your employer and the owner or manager of the facility as soon as practicable that you are unvaccinated.

Read more about how to provide evidence of your COVID-19 vaccination status or how to provide proof of an exemption for COVID-19 vaccination.

Employer requirements

This only applies to workers as outlined in COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for Workers in a high-risk setting Direction.

Any employer that employs, contracts or engages a worker who must be fully vaccinated should inform the worker of the COVID-19 vaccination requirements and must:

  • take all reasonable steps to ensure that the worker does not work if they have not met the vaccination requirements (or the PPE and daily COVID-19 testing requirements if they are unable to be vaccinated)
  • keep a record of COVID-19 vaccination information reported to them by their workers and store it securely.

Critical workforce shortages

If you manage a setting where only vaccinated people may work, and are experiencing critical workforce shortages, you can permit a worker who is unvaccinated to enter, work in, or provide services in the facility for up to a month, if:

  • you’ve assessed the risk to other staff and other people accessing the setting
  • you reasonably believe it is necessary to respond to a critical workforce shortage
  • personal protective equipment is used by the worker in compliance with the PPE guideline and any COVID safe plans for the setting
  • a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result is provided by the unvaccinated worker before starting each work shift.

This allows you time to recruit or make alternative arrangements to ensure there are enough vaccinated workers to avoid ongoing worker shortages. Find out more about critically essential workers.