Western Australia is now requiring primary and community health workers to get the COVID-19 jab in an effort to protect the "most vulnerable people in the community," the state government announced Sunday.
The 'no jab, no job' requirement applies to some 10,000 employees in private provider facilities. They include general practitioners, private nurse offices and consulting offices, pharmacies, dental centres, allied health facilities and private pathology centres, as recommended by WA Chief Health Officer Andrew Robertson.
The additional group of workers will need to have their first dose by 1 November and their second by 1 December to continue in their role. The mandate follows the earlier policy covering healthcare workers as a whole, a move that has purportedly "received strong support from a broad cross section of peak bodies representing primary health and community health practitioners," state officials said.
"Transmission in the primary health and community health setting could have major consequences within the community, including to those most at risk of severe disease associated with COVID-19.
"Health workers in community settings work closely with vulnerable groups, including the elderly and those with chronic disease or who are immunocompromised; these vulnerable groups are at high risk of serious complications from COVID-19 infection and include people who may not be able to be vaccinated themselves.
"This public health measure provides for a nationally consistent approach following advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.
However, the state is open to accommodating medical and temporary exemptions.
"People seeking health care have an expectation that their health will not be further compromised while seeking the care they require," said WA Deputy Premier and Health Minister Roger Cook.
"It is sensible that we do everything we can to protect them,'' he added. "The more people who get vaccinated, the more we're protecting our families, our friends and our communities."