Implementing mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for Australian aged care workers

Sally Hall Dykgraaf, Jane Desborough, Anne Parkinson, Elizabeth A. Sturgiss, Paul Kelly, Michael Kidd

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Australia has effectively instituted a vaccination mandate while maintaining critical workforce capacity in aged care.

Older people living in residential care in Australia and many other countries have been particularly affected by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), because older people are at increased risk of severe illness and death. Vaccination of both residents and staff in residential care settings is a crucial measure to protect older members of the community.

On 28 June 2021, Australia's National Cabinet endorsed the introduction of mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for workers in residential aged care facilities (RACFs), with all staff required to receive a first dose by 17 September 2021.1 At the time, debate around mandatory vaccination for health and social care workers was evolving in many countries, with common concerns about practical, ethical, legal and human rights implications.2, 3 Few countries had moved to implement vaccine mandates, with little COVID-19 specific evidence or experience to draw on, although many had previously implemented mandatory staff vaccination initiatives for other vaccine-preventable diseases in residential aged care settings, especially seasonal influenza.4
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)570-574
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Health personnel
  • Health policy
  • Health services for the aged
  • Vaccination


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