Disability Support Workers

Last Updated: 01 Apr 2022 12:52pm

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Requirement to be vaccinated

There are requirements for certain disability support workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Public Health Direction, Vaccination requirements for certain workers applies to persons who are engaged or employed to provide high intensity supports to National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants, and requires them to receive two doses (or primary course) of COVID-19 vaccine.

From 23 April 2022, disability support workers are also required to receive at least one booster dose of vaccine for COVID-19 under the Public Health Direction, Additional vaccination requirements for workers in certain settings.

Under  the additional vaccination requirements, a disability support worker is considered vaccinated against COVID-19 if they:

  • have received at least one booster dose of a vaccine for COVID-19; or
  • are not eligible, in accordance with the ATAGI recommendations, to receive a booster dose of the vaccine for the disease; or
  • are eligible, in accordance with the ATAGI recommendations, to receive a booster dose of the vaccine for the disease and receive a booster dose of the vaccine for the disease within 4 weeks of becoming eligible.

You are eligible for a booster dose if you are 16 years and older, three months after your second dose (or last primary dose) of a COVID-19 vaccine.

For more information about vaccination, including how to book an appointment, go to COVID-19 Vaccination.

Workers who provide high intensity supports

The following types of support are high intensity supports:

  • Assistance with daily life tasks in a group or shared living arrangement: A worker provides assistance with tasks of daily life in a shared living environment. For example, supporting NDIS participants who live in Supported Independent Living (SIL), or group homes.
  • Group and centre-based activities: A worker assists NDIS participants to access community, social and recreational activities provided in a group setting, either in the community or in a centre. For example, centre-based community access.
  • Specialist supported employment: A worker assists participants who have high support needs to maintain work in a social enterprise, sometimes referred to as Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs).
  • Daily personal activities: A worker assists with personal tasks of daily life to enable an NDIS participant to live as independently as possible. These supports are provided individually to participants and can be provided in a range of environments, including the participant’s own home. For example, providing personal care.
  • Community nursing care: Provide nursing care to respond to the disability-related health needs of an NDIS participant where that care is not the usual responsibility of the health system.
  • Therapeutic supports: A worker assists an NDIS participant to improve independence and enable participation in daily, practical activities such as language and communication, mobility and movement, personal care, interpersonal interactions and community living. For example, occupational therapy, speech pathology, dietetics, psychology, etc.

While the supports described above as high intensity align with NDIS Registration Groups, the requirement to vaccinate applies to the type of support provided not that the support is provided under those registration groups specifically. The Direction applies to both NDIS registered and unregistered providers.

If you provide high intensity supports to an NDIS participant as part of your duties, even if it is not every shift or with every employer, you are required to be vaccinated.

If you provide high intensity support incidental to your main employment (for example, you are a bus driver who occasionally helps a passenger with mobility or communication) you are not required to be vaccinated under this Direction.

If you are employed or engaged to provide support to NDIS participants and are not sure if your employment is included in the definition of high intensity supports, contact your employer.

Evidence of vaccination

Disability support workers who are required to be vaccinated must provide one or more of the following to their employer by 23 April 2022:

  • Evidence of their Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register, operated by or on behalf of the Commonwealth Government OR digital evidence of their COVID-19 digital certificate
  • If they are not able to be vaccinated due to a medical contraindication, a copy of their vaccination medical exemption. An employee may have a valid medical exemption recorded in the Australian Immunisation Register OR a vaccination exemption form completed by their GP or specialist.

There is a step-by-step guide to get proof of your COVID-19 vaccinations online.

All persons covered under the additional requirements Direction are required to have received their booster  dose within four (4) weeks of becoming eligible..

A worker who does not meet these requirements for vaccination is not permitted to provide high intensity supports to an NDIS participant from 23 April 2022. This may mean an employee will have to perform a different role or can no longer perform their role, potentially putting their employment at risk.

Anyone who chooses not to get vaccinated and requires further information should seek advice from their employer.

Providers

The Direction applies to both NDIS registered and unregistered providers.

Employers of workers providing high intensity support to NDIS participants should, as soon as is practicable, notify all staff that they are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Workers are required to provide evidence of their vaccination status, or a vaccination medical exemption by 23 April 2022.

Employers must take all reasonable steps to ensure a worker does not provide high intensity supports to NDIS participants if they do not meet the requirements to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

This means on and after 23 April 2022, an employer must ensure that a worker, as part of their employment or engagement, does not provide high intensity supports to an NDIS participant if the relevant supervisor is not satisfied that the worker:

  • has receive their booster if eligible before 26 March, or
  • if their eligible date is on or after 26 March, receive their booster dose within four (4) weeks of when they are eligible, or
  • has a medical exemption.

The employer must maintain one or more of the following for each worker providing high intensity support to NDIS participants, as evidence of workers being vaccinated:

  • A copy or evidence of the employee's Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register OR digital evidence of their COVID-19 digital certificate
  • If they are not able to be vaccinated due to a medical contraindication, a copy of their vaccination medical exemption. An employee may have a valid medical exemption recorded in the Australian Immunisation Register OR a vaccination exemption form completed by their GP or specialist.

For more information, go to Employer Information.

People with disability

If you receive high intensity supports through a provider, you do not need to do anything. Your provider will ensure that their workers are vaccinated against COVID-19.

It is the responsibility of providers to ensure workers are vaccinated against COVID-19, including if they are a sole provider.

For specific queries about the requirement for your support workers to be vaccinated, please talk with your service provider.

If you self-manage and/or plan-manage your plan and directly employ your own staff to provide high intensity support, it is your responsibility to ensure these workers are notified that they are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Staff are required to provide evidence of their vaccination status, or a vaccination medical exemption, by 23 April 2022. For more information, refer to Providers.

For answers to common queries about vaccination requirements, go to frequently asked questions and resources.

View COVID-19 vaccination requirements Disability Support easy to read version.

Frequently asked questions



The Tasmanian Government knows people who work in the disability sector are committed to doing their best to protect themselves, the people they support, and their communities from COVID-19.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is our best protection against COVID-19 and most Tasmanian disability support workers are already vaccinated against COVID-19.

NDIS participants who receive high intensity supports are a group of people identified by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) as particularly vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19, and so are the focus of the Tasmanian Public Health Direction related to disability workers. Some people with specific medical conditions may be exempt. Talk with your GP or Specialist if you need to discuss a medical exemption. Your GP or Specialist will need to complete the vaccination exemption form.

You can find out where you can get vaccinated or book an appointment by visiting Book your vaccination.

Vaccinations are available from:

  • Tasmanian Government Community Clinics
  • participating GP clinics
  • participating community pharmacies
  • GP-led respiratory clinics
  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services

If the date you are eligible to get your booster dose is after 26 March, make a booking now for when you are due for a booster. You are required to get the booster vaccine within four (4) weeks of becoming eligible.

You are eligible for a booster dose three months after your second dose (or last primary dose) of a COVID-19 vaccine.

For example, if you got your second dose on 6 January, you are eligible for your booster dose on Wednesday 6 April. You then have 4 weeks, or until Wednesday 4 May to get your booster dose.

Transmission of COVID-19 to NDIS participants receiving high intensity supports has the potential to cause serious illness and death. Some people with disability, including those with auto-immune complexities, are particularly vulnerable if infected with COVID-19.

An employee who does not meet the vaccination requirement is not permitted to provide high intensity supports to an NDIS participant . This may mean an employee will have to perform a different role or can no longer perform their role, potentially putting their employment at risk.

Anyone who chooses not to get vaccinated and requires further information should seek advice from their employer.

There are two categories of medical exemptions, either a medical contraindication or a temporary medical exemption. Medical contraindications are valid indefinitely. Temporary medical exemptions have a limited time frame (six months maximum) depending upon the condition that warrants exemption. A medical exemption will remain current if the date on the form has not lapsed

People who have had COVID-19 can be vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine.

Workers can be vaccinated as soon as they have recovered from their acute illness. There is no requirement to delay vaccination.

If a worker tests positive for COVID-19 between their first and second primary doses, or between their second primary dose and booster dose, the worker should delay next dose until they have recovered from the acute illness.

People with prolonged symptoms from COVID-19 beyond 4 months should be vaccinated on a case-by-case basis.

More information is available in ATAGI's Expanded Guidance on temporary medical exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines.