Mandatory vaccination changes for firefighters and others

DFES says public health and safety measures have been critical in ensuring its operations were not affected at the height of the Omicron wave. File picture: Yanchep News Online

MANDATORY vaccination will no longer be required for fire and emergency services workers, including volunteers, from Friday, June 10.

But Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm said alternative health and safety measures would be considered for high-risk settings, as DFES would be required to provide frontline services to vulnerable members of the community.

DFES said the public health and safety measures had been critical in ensuring DFES’ operations were not affected at the height of the current Omicron wave and gave DFES protection, with 94 per cent of DFES staff having received a third dose.

On Wednesday Premier Mark McGowan said from June 10 WA’s mandatory vaccination policy would be updated in line with health advice and would only apply to workforces working with the most vulnerable to protect them from severe disease.

This means workers in the following sectors must be triple dose vaccinated to be able to enter their work premise:

  • Healthcare and health support workers in hospitals and primary health care settings;
  • Workers in residential aged care; and
  • Workers in residential disability settings.

But the vaccine requirements in place on other workforces will be removed from this date.

Mask wearing, proof of vaccination and visitor limits in certain settings will remain and continue to be monitored by the chief health officer.

Covid-19 positive people are still required to follow strict protocols including isolating, testing and mask wearing to limit the spread, and close contacts must continue to follow close contact guidelines including daily testing and mask wearing.

Returning unvaccinated Australians and permanent residents will no longer be quarantined for seven days on return to WA.

But unvaccinated non-Australians are not permitted to enter Australia under Commonwealth orders.

Mr McGowan said WA was still in the midst of the Omicron wave and coupled with the upcoming flu season it was vital people took every precaution, followed the health advice, kept up mask wearing as necessary, ensured they were up to date with the Covid-19 and flu vaccines and maintained handwashing and sanitising.

“With the removal of borders our health experts are expecting increased flu cases, which is why we need to be vigilant, especially as we’re getting into the colder months and people are now travelling more,’’ he said.

The state government has introduced free flu vaccines for everyone this June to give people more opportunities to take up the vaccine.

Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson said while WA continued to travel exceptionally well people needed to recognise that Covid-19 related workforce absenteeism in the health system would continue to be a challenge, which other states were also facing.

“Our dedicated healthcare workforce continues to rise to this challenge, but as a community we must do everything we can to protect them, including getting vaccinated against Covid-19 and influenza,’ she said.

“It is especially important that we continue to protect the most vulnerable members of our community, as we have done throughout the pandemic, which is why the latest health advice is that vaccine mandates should remain for some high-risk workplaces.’’

Today WA Health reported 7092 new cases of Covid-19 to 8pm last night.

There are currently 46,372 active cases in Western Australia.

To 8pm last night, there were 275 people with COVID-19 in hospital, 9 in ICU.

The report includes six new deaths dating back May 21 which were reported to WA Health yesterday: two women in their 90s, two women in their 80s and two men in their 80s.

As of April 8 the World Health Organization evaluated the following vaccines against Covid-19 that have met the necessary criteria for safety and efficacy