Health care worker immunisation and screening 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.

Who does the policy apply to?

The Addressing vaccine preventable disease: Occupational assessment, screening and vaccination policy directive (PDF 452KB) applies to all current and prospective employees*, contractors, students and volunteers of the Department for Health and Wellbeing, Local Health Networks (including state-wide services aligned with those networks) and SA Ambulance Service.

The policy categorises health care workers into three categories based on the roles and work duties of each individual. Roles will be classified as either Category A, Category B, or Category C (see Mandatory Instruction 1 in the policy).

*Note: it is the role of the employing authority to ensure relevant vaccinations and screenings have taken place before commencement of employment.

What are the immunisation requirements for HCW?

The Addressing vaccine preventable disease: Occupational assessment, screening and vaccination policy directive (PDF 452KB) defines the minimum standards, including documented evidence of immune status to selected vaccine preventable diseases (Mandatory Instruction 1 and 3).

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.

Requirements for prospective employees

All prospective employees applying for roles within SA Health are required to provide confirmation of immune status. Those who refuse to participate in screening and/or vaccination, or fail to provide confirmation of immune status, and whose prospective work activities are assessed as Category A or Category B, will not be considered for employment.

Current SA Health employees, who are seeking a new position within SA Health, are expected to be compliant with the immunisation requirements for that new position.

The Job Pack PDF available for the role you are applying for will detail whether the role is determined as requiring Category A, Category B or Category C immune status. Information about such requirements can be found within the Addressing vaccine preventable disease: Occupational assessment, screening and vaccination policy directive (PDF 452KB) (Mandatory Instruction 1).

You will be required to submit the Prospective SA Health HCW Immunisation Screening Form DOCX 190KB). You will have the opportunity to upload this information within the application form, or if you are short-listed for an interview you may submit the documents at the time of the interview.

The Immunisation Screening Form indicates whether documentation is required or not, and if required, the acceptable evidence of immunity for each vaccine preventable disease which may be:

  • Vaccination records (e.g. childhood, school or travel vaccination records)
  • Serology report provided by your Treating Practitioner (and any subsequent vaccinations provided to meet requirements).

Prospective employees currently working within SA Health can provide a copy of their HR21 Health Assessment record.

You are encouraged to read and understand the Policy Directive to ensure you are aware of your requirements prior to applying.

Model documents to support the implementation of the Policy Guideline

The Addressing vaccine preventable disease: Occupational assessment, screening and vaccination policy directive (PDF 452KB) is supported by the following model documents. These can be adapted by education providers and Local Health Networks in implementing the policy:


Vaccination exemptions

A person must meet certain eligibility requirements in order to obtain an exemption from vaccination. See Services Australia's Immunisation Medical exemptions page for further information.

COVID-19 vaccination exemption

Criteria are listed in the ATAGI Expanded Guidance on temporary medical exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines.

Applying for a COVID-19 vaccination exemption

  1. SA Health healthcare workers and volunteers are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in accordance with the SA Health Addressing vaccine preventable disease: Occupational assessment, screening and vaccination policy, the process for applying for a CPHO exemption from COVID-19 vaccination is as follows:
    1. A medical practitioner completes SA Health Chief Public Health Officer Immunisation Exemption Application Form (PDF 730KB) on behalf of the individual
    2. The individual emails the immunisation exemption application form to
    3. Application for exemption is considered by the South Australian Exemptions Committee and a recommendation is made to the Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO).
    4. The individual is notified of the exemption application outcome via email.

This process can take up to 4 weeks.

If the application is related to a person who has been infected with COVID-19 please attach a copy of the laboratory PCR result, or confirmation of a RAT positive result reported to SA Health. Subsequent infections of COVID-19 require laboratory PCR results to be notified.