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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.

What defines a Health Care Worker?

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.

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 or Category B immune status. Information about such requirements can be found within the Immunisation for Health Care Workers in South Australia Policy Directive (PDF 638KB) and the frequently asked questions (PDF 301KB).

You will be required to submit the Prospective SA Health employees (Pre-employment) -HCW Immunisation Screening Form and Certificate of Compliance (PDF 500KB). 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 are able to provide a copy of their HR21 Health Assessment record. 

Prospective employees applying for roles within Category A or Category B who are unable to be vaccinated due to temporary or permanent medical contraindications to vaccination (as defined in the Australian Immunisation Handbook must provide documented evidence of their contraindications to the relevant Hiring Manager. Please confer with your Treating Practitioner to obtain this evidence.

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

Responsibilities

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
  • 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:

Forms

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

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.

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