Up to one million Victorian workers face losing their jobs if they have not chosen to be vaccinated after a COVID-19 vaccination deadline set by the Daniel Andrews state government came into effect on Nov. 26.
Authorised workers from 33 industries and sectors including the sports, education, manufacturing, the arts, community, entertainment, justice, utility services, transport, retail and religious organisations were required to have two doses of a COVID-19 vaccination by Friday, Nov. 26, under the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions Health Order (pdf).
In order to work onsite at work premises, authorised workers must be able to provide evidence to employers that they have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine or have valid proof of medical exemption.
The same will apply for staff working in school, childcare and early education services starting from Nov. 29. While healthcare workers would need to present evidence of their vaccination or a medical exemption from Dec. 15.
The news comes as the state government confirmed that eight state-run vaccination clinics from this week are closing on Friday as dose rates decline.
Fifteen metro and regional sites will remain open into next year to administer booster shots and potentially first and second shots to children under 12 if the Therapeutic Goods Administration approves vaccination for children five and above.
The changes come as the Services Victoria app has been updated to allow parents and guardians to add their children’s vaccination certificates.
Previously, parents had carried printouts of vaccination certificates for children under 14 for check-ins into non-essential retail stores and events.
However, the app now allows for dependents to be added; therefore, a child’s digital vaccination certificate can now be included with their parents or guardians.
Children aged over 14 have their own Medicare account and can therefore present their own vaccination certificates on the Services Victoria app the same way as adults.
Victoria recorded 1362 new COVID-19 cases and seven deaths on Friday, setting a new high in the daily number of cases since Nov. 1.
Epidemiologist Nancy Baxter, a professor from the University of Melbourne, said that “it shouldn’t surprise some people that its [COVID-19 cases] been stubbornly at its [high] level.”.
“Because we’re very open, and we opened at very high levels of COVID,” Baxter said on Nine News on Nov. 25.
The rising cases coincide with higher testing numbers, with 73,419 tests processed on Thursday.
On Nov. 24, Victoria hit its major milestone with more than 90 percent of people aged over 12 fully vaccinated.