Unvaccinated Aussie Parents Will Be Allowed to Visit Their Kids at West Australian Hospitals

By Daniel Khmelev
Daniel Khmelev
Daniel Khmelev
Daniel Khmelev is an Australian reporter based in Perth covering energy, tech, and politics.
February 2, 2022Updated: February 2, 2022

The Western Australia (WA) government has said it will allow unvaccinated parents to visit their sick children in hospital as the state’s sweeping vaccination mandates kick in.

From Jan. 31, West Australians are no longer allowed to attend hospitality, entertainment, or fitness venues unless they demonstrate proof of vaccination—one of the broadest proof of vaccination requirements in the country.

However, this also includes visitors to hospitals and aged care facilities, a point that sparked concerns parents would no longer be able to stand beside the hospital bed of their children unless they were vaccinated.

But the WA Department of Health has since outlined that one “essential visitor”—a parent, carer, or designated guardian—would be allowed to stay with the child and be exempted from the restrictions.

“They stay with the child, I mean we have children that need a parent or a carer,” a Perth Children’s Hospital (PCH) spokeswoman told The Epoch Times.

Epoch Times Photo
A general view of the Perth Children’s Hospital in Perth, Australia on Apr. 20, 2020. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

The spokeswoman also clarified that both parents would be able to see their child if one attended on a visiting basis.

“One parent will be with the child at all times, but a second person classified as essential can come in the visiting hours,” she said.

She added that other exemptions could be granted depending on the circumstances and the needs of the child.

The fundamental goal, the spokeswoman noted, was to limit the spread of the Omicron variant that had begun to sprout throughout the state.

“We’re just trying to limit the amount of people in and out of the hospital with the COVID regulations.”

The WA government has attempted to manage the spread of Omicron by reversing its decision to reopen interstate borders, admitting that double-dosed vaccination proved ineffective against Omicron. As of Feb. 2, the state recorded 178 active cases.

To combat this, the state government is aiming to raise booster dose vaccination levels up to around 80 or 90 percent before reopening, although WA Premier Mark McGowan did not rule out the possibility of extending the border closure once again. Nearly 40 percent of the state’s 16 and over population has already received a third dose.

With 97.6 percent of WA’s 12-and-over population receiving at least one dose of a vaccine, concerns have been raised regarding the government’s refusal to release its border restrictions despite high rates of vaccination.

Some have blamed the closures over the state’s strained healthcare system and the government’s lack of addressing the matter—despite having nearly two years since the beginning of the pandemic—a point the state government has denied.

But the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) remained firm in accusing the WA government of a lack of action, and slammed the decision over the cascade of economic damage it will incur to the state and the nation.

“The decision was taken with no meaningful consultation with industry and with clearly little understanding of the strain that big parts of the state economy are already under given a lack of staff, virtually no labour mobility, deeply stressed supply chains and the significant reputational damage as a place to do business that WA is already suffering,” Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said.

“The state has had two years to prepare the health system to deal with the COVID outbreak and this raises questions as to why they apparently remain so ill-prepared to deal with the far milder Omicron variant,” Ai Group WA Head Kristian Stratton said.