Victorian Hotel Quarantine Staff Stood Down With Full Pay After Refusing Vaccine

April 9, 2021 Updated: April 9, 2021

Workers in Victoria’s hotel quarantine program who refused to be vaccinated against the CCP virus have been stood down with full pay.

While some workers refused the vaccine on medical grounds, at least one worker did so out of concern that the vaccine may affect her fertility.

“All staff members working at our active quarantine hotels must have had at least their first vaccination; if they have not been vaccinated, they cannot work a shift in the hotels,” a spokeswoman for COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria, which is responsible for the hotel quarantine program told The Australian.

“We are working with the small number of staff who remain unvaccinated on alternative work arrangements outside of the hotels.”

Currently, all hotel quarantine staff have received at least one jab of the Pzifer vaccine, with 46 percent having already received their second dose. Most of the workers have also undergone N95 mask fit testing.

Jacinta Allan, Victorian Transport Infrastructure Minister, said on Tuesday that all hotel quarantine staff need at least one vaccine jab when the program resumes on Thursday.

The hotel quarantine workers need to prove their vaccination by showing either a vaccination card or a printout of the MyGov medical records every time they arrive at a working site.

The news of the vaccine refusals come as Victoria reopens its hotel quarantine program for the third time. The program was suspended on February 13 after a cluster infection at the Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport led to a five-day lockdown of the state.

The Holiday Inn near Melbourne Airport, the Novotel Ibis Melbourne Central, Pan Pacific, Holiday Inn on Flinders and Element Melbourne Richmond will be used for the state’s quarantine program, with the Holiday Inn on Flinders Street prepped to take travellers who test positive to COVID-19. The Element Melbourne Richmond will take those with medical conditions and complex needs.

Michael O’Brien, the Victorian Opposition Leader, told The Australian that Victoria could not afford any more lockdowns.

“We know that the last two times Labor made a mess of hotel quarantine,” he said. “The government needs to get it right this time. Victorians are counting on it.”

AAP contributed to this report.