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Information for Aged Care Workers

Mandatory Covid-19 Vaccinations for Aged Care Workers

The Federal Government has announced all aged care workers must have their first Covid-19 vaccine dose by mid-September 2021 to be allowed to continue to work in the sector.


This information has been divided into two sections:

What does the federal government directive mean for aged care workers?

About the Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccination

Please note: Much of this information is taken from Australian Government sources including the Department of Health website. Please check this website for the latest advice from authorities.

This information was updated on July 5 2021 and is likely to change.

What does the government mandate mean for aged care workers?

All aged care workers must have their first vaccine by mid-September. Aged care workers who have not received their first dose by the deadline will not be allowed to continue working in aged care.

Is it legal to make the vaccine mandatory?

Yes. The mandate is a federal government directive and it will be legally enforceable.[

Is the decision based on health advice?

Yes. The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has recommended that to protect older Australians in aged care, all aged care workers receive the Covid-19 vaccination by September 17, 2021.

This provides extra protection to aged care residents including those who are already vaccinated. In an outbreak, vaccinated individuals are less likely to be significant drivers of Covid-19 spread.

The AHPPC is a panel of experts comprised of the Chief Health Officers of every state and territory in Australia, and is chaired by the Australian Chief Medical Officer.

You can read the AHPPC statement here.

Does this mean I am being forced to have the vaccine?

No. The government cannot force any individual to have the vaccine. However, aged care workers who refuse to be vaccinated will not be permitted to continue working in the aged care sector.

You can read the federal government’s vaccination policy here.

What vaccine will I be given?

In making the vaccine mandatory for aged care workers, the Federal Government has said workers will be given the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine regardless of age.

How will I get the vaccine?

The Federal Government has promised paid leave for aged care workers to attend a state vaccination clinic to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

Some aged care workers will be vaccinated at their worksite. If your employer is not providing on-site vaccinations, you can attend your GP or a state vaccination clinic.

The Federal health department have advised United Workers Union that aged care workers attending state vaccination clinics should bring proof that they work in aged care (such as an ID card, employment letter or pay slip) and will be given the Pfizer vaccine.

Workers are advised to make a telephone appointment and advise at the time of booking that they are an aged care worker and want the Pfizer vaccine, as some workers are currently having issues booking a Pfizer vaccine online.

What happens if I have to take time off work because of a side effect?

The Federal Government has said if aged care workers are unwell after vaccination and have no other leave entitlements, workers will receive a day’s paid leave at a rate of $185.

Will I get paid time off to get the vaccine?

The Federal Government has said a fee of $80 per staff member, per dose, will be paid to workers who have to go off-site for vaccinations.

What if I have medical reasons that mean I’m concerned about getting the vaccine?

There has been no information provided about any exceptions to this mandate. Your union is urgently seeking further clarification about how the vaccine policy will be applied.

Will I lose my job if I haven’t had the vaccine by the deadline?

The Federal Government has stated that all aged care workers must have the first vaccine by mid-September. Your union is seeking further information about how the deadline will be enforced in these circumstances.

If you are having trouble getting access to the vaccine then you should speak to your employer in the first instance. If that fails to resolve the issue, contact your union.

Will family members and visitors be required to be vaccinated?

Not at this stage.

What is the United Workers Union’s position on the vaccine being made mandatory?

United Workers Union supports decisions being made by the chief health officer in the interest of public health.

A strong nationwide vaccination program is the only way Australia is going to be able to get the Covid-19 pandemic under control and to protect the lives of vulnerable Australians.

However, we believe that the federal government has completely bungled the vaccine roll out. It’s not right that aged care workers are being blamed for low vaccination rates when the Federal Government promised aged care workers would be a priority, then failed to give you access to the vaccine.

Communication to aged care workers about the vaccine has been unclear, mismanaged and inconsistent.

Every aged care worker should have been given the opportunity to receive accurate information about the vaccine program by subject experts. This has not occurred.

Now the government is putting the burden on aged care workers to fix the bungled roll out by mandating the Covid-19 vaccine in aged care.

What if I need more information?

If you need more information, contact your local UNITED WORKERS UNION member assist – details are available at

You can also get information from the Department of Health web-site at .

How does the Pfizer vaccine work?

The Pfizer vaccine works by reducing the severity of infection. The Pfizer vaccine has been found to be 90% effective for reducing the severity of Covid-19 infections.

Vaccines train the immune system to more quickly recognise and effectively respond to Covid-19 infection.

The vaccine does not ‘cure’ Covid-19 or completely prevent infection.

More detailed information about the Pfizer vaccine is available here.

Is the Pfizer vaccine safe?

Yes. Any vaccine used in Australia must be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), including the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

The vaccine cannot cause Covid-19 infection or change human DNA.

Is Pfizer the vaccine that has been associated with blood clots?

No. Pfizer is the vaccine that has been promised to aged care workers since the start of the vaccination program and has not been linked to blood clot issues.

Is the Pfizer vaccine experimental?

No. The Pfizer vaccine has provisional TGA approval in Australia.

To receive provisional approval from the TGA, the Pfizer vaccine has been subject to a rigorous review process.

The decision to provisionally approve the vaccine was informed by expert advice from the Advisory Committee on Vaccines (ACV), an independent committee with expertise in scientific, medical and clinical fields including consumer representation.

You can read more about provisional TGA approvals here.

Does the Pfizer vaccine prevent transmission?

The evidence is unclear regarding whether Covid-19 vaccines reduce transmission.

A person who is vaccinated may still be infected by COVID-19 before or after vaccination and may still transmit the virus to others.

Vaccinated people must still follow official guidance and recommendations regarding infection prevention and control (i.e. hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, physical distance)

How soon will I be protected after having the vaccine?

After your first dose, you will need a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least 21 days later to complete the vaccination schedule. It is important that you receive two doses of the same vaccine.

You may not be protected against COVID-19 until seven days after your second dose.

Do I still need to get a flu vaccination?

Yes. Covid-19 vaccinations do not protect against flu.

It is an Australian Government requirement that from 1 May 2020 all people entering an aged care facility must have a current flu vaccination. This applies to all staff, visitors, health practitioners, volunteers and others (for example, cleaners, tradesman, gardeners, maintenance staff).

This means that all aged care workers are now required by law to have a flu vaccination.

Please click here for more information regarding flu vaccinations from the Australian Government Department of Health.

How much does the vaccination cost?

It does not cost anything to get the Covid-19 vaccination at a state government clinic.

GP’s may charge a consultation fee to administer the vaccine.

If members need more information or are having trouble accessing the vaccination, please contact the union.

What if I need more information?

If you need more information, contact your local UNITED WORKERS UNION member assist – details are available at

You can also get information from the Department of Health web-site at .

Your aged care workers union is calling on the Federal Government to urgently answer remaining questions about how the mandatory vaccinations will work.

  1. What happens to the employment of aged care workers who are medically unable to have the vaccine?

  2. What the phase-in period looks like, to ensure large numbers of staff are not banned from work overnight by staff not having been vaccinated through no fault of their own.

  3. Whether there are adverse unintended consequences, including whether there is a blanket ban on unvaccinated family members visiting aged care facilities.


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