The Queensland state government of Australia is scrapping COVID-19 vaccine mandates in a large number of workplaces, including schools, childcare, airports, jails, aged care, and disability facilities.
“Restrictions that have protected us have eased in sensible stages, and today, I announce with the advice of the Chief Health Officer, we are removing some of the last remaining COVID restrictions,” Health Minister Yvette D'Ath told parliament on June 24.
From 1 a.m. on Thursday, most workplaces that have only been allowing vaccinated staff to work will be open to all. This includes kindergartens, daycare prisons, youth detention centres, and airports.
Queensland’s mandates will continue to be in place for workers in healthcare, hospital, aged care, and disability care facilities.
Private employers, including schools, daycares, prisons, and airports, may also continue to impose mandates as desired.
“As we move to the next stage of the pandemic, we will be adjusting our approach in relation to mandatory vaccinations,” D’Ath said in a release.
While most PCR testing and fever clinics will also close shop, she said people should use rapid antigen tests to check if they have the virus. A small number of state-run facilities will still be offered.
Vaccine Requirements Removed in the Other StatesMeanwhile, unvaccinated teachers in New South Wales could also be allowed back in the classroom from next month.
NSW Department of Education Secretary Georgina Harrisson said that nearly 1,000 staff who resigned or were terminated for not complying with the vaccine mandate could reapply to return to work at school.
This move would be welcomed as Australia’s current winter season creates staffing stress across the sector.
“Like all employers right now, we face unprecedented numbers of staff calling in sick due to COVID-19 and the flu,” she said.
Mandates for the booster vaccine dose in Victoria will also be lifted for workers in education, food distribution, and quarantine settings, with vaccine policies to be decided at the discretion of individual workplaces.