Updates

Vaccine mandate extends to education, corrections, and airport sectors

Queensland Government media release

The Queensland Government will mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for workers in education, early childhood, corrections, youth justice and airport settings.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for Workers in a High-Risk Setting Direction to further protect Queenslanders.

“The only way to prevent deaths and protect Queenslanders from new variants of COVID-19 is to ramp up our vaccination rollout,” the Premier said.

“These measures are about protecting our most vulnerable.

“To keep our children safe, we must ensure our teachers and frontline education workers are vaccinated.”

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said health measures like the expanded mandate were an important part of the state’s plan to keep Queenslanders safe.

“Under this Direction, everyone working in these nominated high-risk settings must receive a first dose by 17 December and be fully vaccinated by 23 January 2022 ahead of the start of the new school term,” Minister D’Ath said.

“We have consulted widely in developing this Direction and the response has been positive.

“Vaccination remains the best way to protect ourselves and our loved ones against the impacts of COVID-19, including serious illness or death from the virus.

“We’ve already mandated the vaccine for public and private healthcare staff. Now we’re applying the same set of rules for additional cohorts in settings that have an increased infection risk.

“This is not only to help protect those who cannot be vaccinated yet, such as primary school students, but also to protect staff working in settings that have a high risk of transmission.

“For example, airport workers may come into contact with hundreds of people a day from all corners of the country – and international destinations.

“We know prisons can be high risk environments for transmission of COVID-19 as prisoners are accommodated together.

“Education settings also have high movement of people, both staff and students, every day and teachers and students work in close proximity.”

The Direction will extend to any person working in an education, early childhood, corrections, youth justice or airport setting or may visit these settings as part of their job responsibilities.

“Just like the vaccination directive for Queensland Health staff, which applies to anyone working in a hospital setting or who may visit a setting as part of their role, this directive will work the same way for these high risk settings,” the Minister said.

Only workers entering an airport terminal are required to be vaccinated under this direction. This direction does not include taxi drivers dropping off passengers or AirTrain workers, for example.

Chief Health Officer Dr Peter Aitken said it was paramount that anyone who worked in these nominated high-risk settings was vaccinated.

“As the borders open, we should expect a significant rise in cases, so everyone who works in nominated settings with a high risk of transmission should be vaccinated to protect themselves and others,” he said.

“While there’s still a chance you can contract or transmit COVID-19 when vaccinated, the risk is greatly reduced with vaccination.

“You have a much lower chance of developing more serious symptoms from COVID-19 compared to those who did not get the vaccine.

“We will all likely be exposed to COVID-19 eventually – and we know being vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself.”

View the full direction here.