Health Care Settings

Last Updated: 19 Nov 2021 2:43pm

Information for workers in health care settings

This information is not intended as clinical guidance for health care workers directly caring for confirmed, probable or suspect cases of COVID-19. Information is also applicable for health care organisations.

Mandatory vaccination of workers in health care settings

The Tasmanian Government announced the requirement for all health care workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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

This Public Health Direction does not apply to persons who:

  • are engaged under contract to provide services remotely (i.e. not on premises owned or occupied by the Agency), that are not health and medical services or treatments.

Workers who are required to be vaccinated

The Public Health Direction, mandatory vaccination of certain workers, requires that on and after 31 October 2021, a person is not be permitted to enter, or remain on, the premises of a medical or health facility for employment, engagement (including volunteering), placement, or work experience, unless they are sufficiently vaccinated against COVID-19.

Medical or health facilities include:

  • hospitals, both public and private and day-procedure centres;
  • premises owned, or operated by or on behalf of, the Department of Health;
  • commercial premises where health and medical services or treatments are provided on a regular basis;
  • pharmacies;
  • blood donation centres; and
  • pathology collection centres.

The direction also requires non-health workers within these medical or health facilities to be sufficiently vaccinated, such as security personnel, cleaners, maintenance, catering and administration staff.

All Department of Health employees are required to be sufficiently vaccinated when they are on premises owned or occupied the agency. This includes people engaged by, or engaged to work on behalf of the Department of Health including all persons working under interoperability arrangements and other temporary staff.

All persons engaged by a medical or health facility and all persons engaged to provide services at a health care facility must provide evidence of vaccination, or exemption, to his or her employer and the employer is to keep that evidence.

In addition, on and after 31 October 2021, a person is not permitted to provide health and medical services and treatments unless the person is sufficiently vaccinated.  Health and medical services or treatments include treatments provided by:

  • a person who is registered in the medical profession under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law; or
  • a person who is registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law to practice a health profession; or
  • a person who is an allied health professional (as described at (s)(iv)(C) in the Direction); or
  • ambulance services, or non-emergency patient transport services.
  • Education settings in which health care students are managed to undertake placement, registration, and/or internships in clinical settings for example UTAS and TasTAFE.
  • A reminder if students are doing placements in health care settings, they need to be vaccinated before 31 October. Aged care workers including students, have to have had their first dose of the COVID 19 vaccine by 17 September 2021 or provide evidence of vaccination intention (ie. booking for vaccination) or a completed vaccination exemption form.

See the list of professions included in the requirement in the FAQs below.

Mandatory vaccination FAQs

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

The General FAQs on Workers in aged care facilities and organisations page provide extra resources as well as these FAQs below:



  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practice (including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioner, Aboriginal health practitioner, Torres Strait Islander health practitioner)
  • Chinese medicine (including Chinese medicine practitioner, Chinese herbal dispenser, Chinese herbal medicine practitioner, Oriental medicine practitioner, Acupuncturist)
  • Chiropractic (Chiropractor)
  • Dental (including dentist, dental therapist, dental hygienist, dental prosthetist and oral health therapist)
  • Medical (Medical practitioner)
  • Medical radiation practice (Medical radiation practitioner, Diagnostic radiographer, Medical imaging technologist, Radiographer, Nuclear medicine scientist, Nuclear medicine technologist, Radiation therapist)
  • Midwifery (Midwife, Midwife practitioner)
  • Nursing (Nurse, Registered nurse, Nurse practitioner, Enrolled nurse)
  • Occupational therapy (Occupational therapist)
  • Optometry (Optometrist, Optician)
  • Osteopathy (Osteopath)
  • Paramedicine (Paramedic)
  • Pharmacy (Pharmacist, Pharmaceutical chemist)
  • Physiotherapy (Physiotherapist, Physical therapist)
  • Podiatry (Podiatrist, Chiropodist)
  • Psychology (Psychologist)

All Department of Health employees and contractors are also required to be vaccinated.

  • Art therapist
  • Audiologist
  • Chiropractor
  • Counsellor holding a Master of Counselling from a tertiary institution
  • Dietician
  • Exercise physiologist
  • Genetic counsellor
  • Occupational therapist
  • Optometrist
  • Osteopath
  • Music therapist
  • Pharmacist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Perfusionist
  • Podiatrist
  • Orthotist
  • Prosthetist
  • Psychologist
  • Radiologists/radiographers
  • Rehabilitation counsellor
  • Social worker
  • Sonographer
  • Speech pathology
  • Orthoptist

All Department of Health employees and contractors are also required to be vaccinated.

Yes, this includes health care professionals that work in a range of settings and some of these may be educational, eg. a teaching hospital.

The Tasmanian Government has announced the requirement for workers in medical and health care settings, both public and private, to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This includes all employees in these settings, as well as all workers providing health and medical services or treatments. Workers need to have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine or provide evidence of a booking or exemption by 31 October 2021.

A reminder if students are doing placements in health care settings, they need to be sufficiently vaccinated before 31 October 2021. Aged care workers including students, have to have had their first dose of the COVID 19 vaccine by 17 September 2021, or provide evidence of vaccination intention (ie. booking for vaccination) or a completed vaccination exemption form.

The direction requires that all people that are engaged or employed by a facility be vaccinated if they enter the facility for work purposes and health and medical services or treatments are provided at that facility on a regular basis.

In practical terms, the requirement for vaccination extends to people that work in the same physical area of the building in which health and medical services or treatments are provided. This includes associated areas, such as a reception or waiting area of a clinic.

Example 1:

A school nurse provides medical services for students and staff in a consultation room in a high-school’s administration building.

As the nurse is providing medical services and treatments, the nurse and any other staff that work in the consultation room are subject to the vaccination requirements.

Staff that work on areas of this building, or in other buildings on the school campus, are not subject to the requirements.

Example 2:

A GP provides medical care from a GP clinic in a building with multiple other tenants.

As the GP provides medical services or treatments, the entire GP clinic is considered to be a health or medical facility, as all rooms of the clinic (including waiting and reception areas) are associated with the provision of heath or medical services and treatments.

Organisations that occupy other areas of the same building are not considered a health or medical facility and are not subject to the requirements of the direction.

Example 3:

A private mental health organisation has a number of sites across Tasmania: an administrative office for the HR, finance, and legal teams, and three clinics where the organisation’s psychologists and social workers see clients.

The administrative office is not considered a medical or health facility as no health and medical services or treatments are provided from this location. Staff who only work at this office and who do not provide health and medical services or treatments would not be required to be vaccinated under the direction.

The clinics are considered to be a medical or health facility as the psychologists and social workers are providing health and medical services or treatments at these locations on a regular basis. Employees and persons engaged by the organisation may only enter and remain on theses premises if they are sufficiently vaccinated. All workers at these clinics would therefore be subject to the vaccination requirements. Additionally, the requirement also applies to any of the organisation’s office staff that enter these facilities (even for short periods of time).

One of the tests to determine whether a premise is a medical or health facility is whether health and medical services or treatments are provided on a regular basis. For example, a Neighbourhood House engages a dietician to provide an onsite clinic once a week. Services provided on a weekly basis would be a ‘regular’ basis and as such the premises would be a medical or health facility. This means that everyone working at the Neighbourhood House would be covered by the direction and be required to be sufficiently vaccinated.

A social worker who does outreach work with clients experiencing homelessness at different locations on an ad hoc basis would need to be vaccinated as they are providing health and medical services or treatments. However, as the social worker is not providing services at one location on a regular basis, these locations would not be considered a medical or health facility. Therefore, other workers at those locations would not need to be vaccinated.

The direction applies if these people provide services or treatments as an allied health professional. If the work they undertake relies upon the knowledge, skills, experience or qualifications as an allied health professional, they are subject to the vaccination requirements

Example 1:

A person is qualified as a social worker and works in a management role. They do not work directly with clients but manage a team of social workers who do work with clients. The manager’s role includes providing technical guidance to their team and reviewing cases. In this circumstance, the manager would be considered to be providing health and medical services or treatments, and would therefore be subject to the vaccination requirements.

Example 2:

A person is a qualified counsellor who is not providing counselling services and is performing a role that does not require counselling qualifications or experience to perform. In this circumstance, this person would not be subject to the vaccination requirements. The exception to this is if they perform work in a medical or health facility, in which case the vaccination requirement would apply.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) and the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommend that pregnant people be routinely offered the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at any stage of pregnancy. This is because the risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 is significantly higher for a pregnant person and their unborn baby.

Pregnant people are encouraged to discuss getting vaccinated with their health professional. People trying to get pregnant do not need to delay getting vaccinated or avoid becoming pregnant after vaccination.

No, not if you are entering health or medical facilities in the context of a visitor  then you are not required to be vaccinated.

Persons providing services to elderly persons within their homes, that are not health or medical services or treatments, are not required to be vaccinated.

However, as such persons are dealing with elderly persons, it is recommended that you are vaccinated.

The direction includes all health professionals registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and the requirement to be vaccinated also includes people who are on the premises of a medical or health facility for employment, engagement (including volunteering), placement, or work experience.

Based on the latest advice from Tasmanian Public Health, due to risks posed by COVID-19 and the evolving Delta variant, healthcare workers or those who work in healthcare settings are required to have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine or provide evidence of a booking or vaccine exemption to enter healthcare facilities from 31 October 2021.

Transmission of COVID-19 in healthcare settings has the potential to cause serious illness and death in staff, patients and visitors. Some patients, including those in intensive care units, high dependency units and respiratory units are particularly vulnerable if infected with COVID-19.

Based on the public health advice, health care settings need to take reasonable precautions to protect their patients, staff and visitors from these risks. COVID-19 vaccinations have been shown to be highly effective in preventing COVID-19 infections in individuals and subsequently reducing transmission of the virus to others.

An employee who does not meet these requirements for vaccination is not permitted to enter or remain on the premises of a medical or health facility from 31 October 2021. This may mean an employee can no longer perform their role, potentially putting their employment at risk.

Workers engaged in the private sector should seek advice from their employer.

On and from 31 October 2021, a person is not permitted to provide health and medical services or treatments unless the person is sufficiently vaccinated against COVID-19. The definition of health and medical services includes Telehealth.


FAQs for organisations that provide products or services to health and medical facilities

Yes.The direction applies to all people that are employed or engaged by, or on behalf of, the medical or health facility who enter a facility for the purpose of undertaking work.

Where a facility operator has engaged (either through a contract or agreement, whether paid or not) a organisation to provide products or services, that organisation’s workers are subject to the requirements if they enter the facility for the purpose of undertaking work.

Even workers who remain on site for short periods of time, for example to deliver goods or to collect samples for transport, are subject to the requirements.

People who are employed by, or on behalf of, an organisation that is not engaged by the facility operator are not subject to the requirements. For example, where there is no contract or agreement in place with the facility, such as a non-profit organisation visiting patients at a private hospital to provide non-clinical support.

The direction establishes that the employer, rather than a facility operator, is responsible for collecting and retaining the necessary evidence for their workers, and ensuring that their workers do not enter or remain on the premises of a medical or health facility.

The employer is also responsible for notifying their workers of the vaccination requirements.

The facility operator is not required, nor permitted, to collect and retain evidence of vaccination for workers employed by other organisations.

Visit Employers for information about employer obligations and the required evidence of vaccination that needs to be maintained.

The direction allows for the operator of a health or medical facility to refuse entry to a person who is required to be sufficiently vaccinated, where the operator is not satisfied that the person is sufficiently vaccinated. For example, if the worker entering the facility is not able to produce evidence that they meet the vaccination requirements or refuses to provide such evidence.

Application

The direction applies to all people that are employed or engaged by, or on behalf of, the operator of the facility who enter a facility for the purpose of undertaking work.

Where a facility operator has engaged (either through a contract or agreement, whether paid or not) an organisation to provide products or services, that organisation’s workers, or sub-contractors, are subject to the requirements if they enter the facility for the purpose of undertaking work. Even workers who remain on site for short periods of time, for example to deliver goods or to collect samples for transport, are subject to the requirements.

Where an organisation is not engaged by, or on behalf of, a facility operator, that organisation’s workers are not subject to the requirements.

Example 1: A GP clinic has a service agreement with a private IT service provider for the maintenance of their computer network and equipment. The IT technicians regularly enter the clinic to respond to issues and perform maintenance.

As the IT provider is engaged by the operator of the facility, and their workers need to enter that facility, the workers entering the facility are subject to the direction.

Example 2: Staff from a non-profit organisation regularly visit patients in palliative care at a private hospital to provide non-clinical support and company. While the non-profit conducts these activities with the approval of the hospital, the non-profit is providing their services for patients and their families. No contract or agreement is in place between the non-profit and hospital.

As the non-profit is not engaged by the hospital to provide these services, and as the services they are providing are not medical services or treatments, the non-profit staff would not be subject to the direction.

Obligations

Where a facility operator has engaged (either through a contract or agreement, whether paid or not) an organisation to provide products or services, that organisation is responsible for notifying its workers of the vaccination requirements, collecting and retaining the necessary evidence for their workers, and ensuring that their workers do not enter or remain on the premises of a medical or health facility.

The facility operator is not required, nor permitted, to collect and retain evidence of vaccination for workers employed by another organisation.

However, the direction allows for the operator of a health or medical facility to refuse entry to a person who is required to be sufficiently vaccinated, where the operator is not satisfied that the person is sufficiently vaccinated. For example, if the worker entering the facility is not able to produce evidence that they meet the vaccination requirements or refuses to provide such evidence.

Example 1: A private chiropractic clinic contracts a cleaning contractor to perform daily cleaning of the clinic. The obligations on each party are:

Contractor: As soon as possible, the contractor must inform their staff that will be working at the clinic of their obligations under the direction. The contractor must collect and retain evidence of booking, vaccination, or medical exemption for these workers. On and from 31 October 2021, the contractor must ensure that their workers do enter the clinic unless they have provided the above evidence.

Facility Operator: The operator of the clinic should liaise with their contractor as soon as possible to ensure they are aware of their obligations under the direction. While the operator is not permitted to request vaccination evidence for all of the contractor’s workers, the operator can request that the contractor confirm whether all their relevant staff are in compliance with the direction.

From 31 October onwards, the facility staff can refuse entry to contractor staff if they believe, on reasonable grounds, that the person is not vaccinated, but is required to be under the direction.


FAQ for employers

Employers should, as soon as is practicable, notify all staff 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 31 October 2021.

From 31 October, employers must take all reasonable steps to ensure an employee does not enter, or remain the premises of a medical or health care setting, if they are not sufficiently vaccinated against COVID-19.

An employer is able to request electronic evidence of vaccination or exemption. Further information on the evidence requirements are available on the Employers page.