Health Care Worker immunisation requirements
Health Care Workers (HCWs) have an increased risk of acquiring some vaccine preventable diseases and of transmitting these diseases to other health care workers, other employees, patients, family members and visitors in SA Health services.SA Health has a duty of care and a responsibility under the Work Health and Safety Act (SA) 2012 to minimise the transmission of vaccine preventable diseases in the workplace.
The Immunisation for Health Care Workers in South Australia Policy Directive (PDF 638KB) applies to all health care workers in SA Health services who have direct or indirect contact with patients, or contact with blood or other body substances from patients, in a health care or laboratory setting as a result of their workplace or study activities. While the risk relates to work tasks, examples of roles include:
- medical, dental, nursing, midwifery, allied health, emergency health care workers (paramedics, ambulance officers and volunteer first aid workers), laboratory workers and mortuary workers, including all trainees and student health care workers in these groups
- health care facility workers such as maintenance engineers who service equipment, sterilising service workers, cleaners, orderlies, workers responsible for the decontamination and disposal of contaminated materials, catering workers, ward clerks, office clerical workers, garden, and kitchen workers
- all persons undertaking a placement or work experience in a health care or laboratory setting that may involve contact with patients or contact with blood or other body substances from patients
- all in the groups above, whether full-time, part-time, permanent, temporary, casual or agency workers, including contractors and volunteers.
What are the immunisation requirements for HCW?
The Immunisation for Health Care Workers in South Australia Policy Directive (PDF 638KB) defines the minimum standards, including documented evidence of immune status to selected vaccine preventable diseases.
SA Health services are required to implement these standards in the workplace to minimise the transmission of vaccine preventable diseases.
The Policy Directive requires all HCWs to know their immune status for selected vaccine preventable diseases. Documented evidence of immune status is required for some of the diseases covered by the Policy Directive.
The Policy Guideline outlines the responsibilities of all:
- SA Health senior management
- SA Health Directors of workforce and work health and safety managers
- worker/staff health services and Infection Prevention and Control Practitioners
- hiring managers and selection panel chairpersons
- managers responsible for prospective contract and volunteer HCWs
- SA Health employees responsible for clinical placements for student HCWs
- student HCWs.
Model documents to support implementation of the Policy Guideline
The Immunisation for Health Care Workers in South Australia Policy Directive (PDF 638KB) is supported by the following model documents. These can be adapted by education providers and Local Health Networks in implementing the policy:
Frequently asked questions (PDF 295KB) regarding the Policy Directive
- HCW Immunisation Screening questionnaire and Certificate of Compliance (medical practitioner form) (PDF 316KB) for use by HCWs and medical practitioners to assess and document immune status to the vaccine preventable diseases covered by the Policy Directive
- Health care worker refusal form (PDF 588KB) for use by SA Health management for current SA Health HCWs who refuse required vaccination and/or screening
- Student health care worker refusal form (PDF 321KB) for student HCWs seeking clinical placement who refuse required vaccination and/or screening
- Contraindications to vaccination (PDF 252KB) fact sheet
- Immunisation Expert Advisory Panel Terms of Reference and process (PDF 84KB)
- Model Powerpoint presentation (PPT 331KB) for health care worker education sessions regarding the Policy Directive
- Cover letter from education provider to student health care worker (DOCX 22KB) outlining the requirements of the Policy Directive
- Compliance checklist for SA Health services (PDF 120KB) for SA Health services to assess steps required to implement the Policy Directive
- Compliance checklist for education providers (PDF 247KB) to assess steps required to implement the Policy Directive
Hepatitis B vaccine shortage
SA Health is aware of supply constraints of the hepatitis B vaccine.
Interim clinical information and advice is available in the Global shortage of hepatitis B vaccine - update for Immunisations Providers and Health Care Workers
The Hepatitis B vaccine shortage includes information on:
- vaccine brand interchangeability
- paediatric and combination formulations for use as a primary course
- substituting adult formulations with paediatric formulations.
For further information on immunisation requirements for HCWs, contact SA Health's Immunisation Section.