Queensland Health residential aged care employee COVID-19 vaccine requirements
From 16 September 2021 all Queensland Health residential aged care facility health service employees (employees) must have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and the second dose by 31 October 2021. Employees must provide the facility operator or nominated representative evidence that they have received both doses on 17 September and 1 November respectively.
Any employees who are unable to be vaccinated for a medical reason or because of a vaccine shortage will not be allowed to continue to work in a Queensland Health aged care facilities. Employees who are unable to be vaccinated will be temporarily deployed to another work unit, until this Direction is revoked. If deployment is not possible the employee must discuss this with their line manager and consult with the local human resources team about other options available. Operators may apply for a Chief Health Officer exemption to permit an unvaccinated employee to continue to work at a facility if they believe it is necessary to respond to a critical workforce shortage.
Despite this, employees who are not vaccinated can enter and provide services at a Queensland Health aged care facility if emergency care must be provided to a resident.
Employees who have not been vaccinated can still enter a facility as a personal visitor or as a support person for a prospective resident, if you follow the visitor requirements.
For full details read the Queensland Health Residential Aged Care Facilities (COVID-19 Vaccination) Direction.
Questions and answers about this Direction
Which residential aged care facilities are included in this Direction?/ Which facilities are Queensland Health residential aged care facilities?
Queensland Health residential aged care facilities include aged care facilities and multi-purpose health services that provide aged care:
Cairns and Hinterland
Torres and Cape
Why aren’t all residential aged care facilities located in Queensland subject to the vaccination requirements?
The Commonwealth Government announced that from 17 September 2021 it will be mandatory for all residential aged care workers in Australia to have received a minimum first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Queensland Health is working with the Commonwealth Government and other jurisdictions to put this requirement in place across the aged care sector.
Who is a health service employee?
Health service employees are any Queensland Health employees employed under the Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011 in Hospital and Health Services and the Department of Health.
For Queensland Health aged care facilities this means anyone who is directly employed by Queensland Health.
For example, this includes but is not limited to:
It does not include paramedics, contractors or service providers not employed by Queensland Health
I need to provide evidence I have been vaccinated, how can I do this?
You can use your immunisation history statement as evidence. This is available from the Australian Government through:
For more information see the Australian Government website.
You will need to notify the Queensland Health manager of the facility when you receive your vaccine.
Can I continue to work if I haven’t received my first dose by 16 September?/ Can I continue to work if I have received my first dose but not my second dose by 31 October?
Any employees who are unable to be vaccinated for a medical reason or a vaccine shortage will not be allowed to continue to work in a Queensland Health residential aged care facility. Employees who are unable to be vaccinated will be temporarily deployed to another work unit, until this Direction is revoked. If deployment is not possible the employee must discuss this with their line manager and consult with the local human resources team about other options available.
Anyone who is able to be vaccinated but chooses not to be must discuss this with their line manager who will consult with the local human resources team.
What are the vaccination rules for current employees and new employees?
If you start work as a new employee, from 17 September you must:
If you start work after 31 October 2021 you must:
Queensland Health aged care facility employees are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine as members of priority group 1, regardless of how old they are.
I’m over 60 years old how will I be able to have both doses in time?
Queensland Health residential aged care facility employees are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine as members of priority group 1, regardless of how old they are.
What is a critical workforce shortage?
A critical workforce shortage refers to a sustained workforce shortage that the operator of the residential aged care facility thinks may impact on resident care or the effective operation of the facility.
For example, a critical workforce shortage may be a shortage of more than 10 per cent of staff for a sustained period of 7 days or more. This number will be dependent on the size of the facility and baseline staffing levels. This will also need to take into consideration skills mix and rostering requirements.
How can I apply for an exemption from this Direction?
Exemptions will only be considered when requested by a residential aged care facility operator or equivalent to prevent a critical workforce shortage. To apply for an exemption, complete the form online using the Health Service Portal.