Australia Corona Virus

Victoria records 423 new COVID cases and two deaths as vaccination mandates grow

Source: ABCnews

Victoria has recorded 423 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and two more deaths, as more organisations announce vaccine mandates for staff.

Of the new cases, contact tracers have linked 149 to known outbreaks.

There were 54,649 test results received on Tuesday, and 41,856 doses of vaccine were administered at state-run sites.

Premier Daniel Andrews will unveil a detailed roadmap out of lockdown on Sunday.

“There will be a map that talks about what we are going to do in the rest of September, what we’re going to do in October and November,” Mr Andrews said on Tuesday.

“It will be subject to all sorts of things including how many people are in hospital.”

Melbourne has been under stage 4 lockdown restrictions since August 5, while most of regional Victoria has enjoyed relaxed restrictions since September 9.

Hospital network and Racing Victoria announce vaccine mandates

St Vincent’s Health Australia has announced it will mandate vaccinations for all staff, volunteers and contractors at its facilities.

St Vincent’s is Australia’s largest not-for-profit health and aged care service provider, operating 16 hospitals and 23 aged care facilities across the country. 

St Vincent’s Health Australia Group CEO Toby Hall said the policy would add to the already high vaccination rates across their organisation.

“Over 70 per cent of our people across the organisation are already fully vaccinated. It’s been terrific to see staff doing their bit to protect each other and the health and aged care communities in which they work,” he said.

“Similarly, many of our facilities and staff already operate in mandatory vaccination environments.”

Mr Hall said only around 200 of St Vincent’s 25,000 staff had outright refused vaccination, some with valid medical reasons.

He told ABC Radio Melbourne some employees could be terminated if they did not comply with the mandate.

“If someone is absolutely adamant they’re not going to get vaccinated, it’s very clear in the state mandates, that we won’t have any choice but to stop them working for a period of time in the frontline health space,” Mr Hall said.

“There may be some situations where we do have to part ways with people. We absolutely want to avoid that, it’s the last thing we want to happen.”

No date has yet been given for the mandate and Mr Hall said a consultation process would be followed before any hard rules were enforced.

“In the coming weeks we will consult with a range of stakeholders, including unions and peak bodies, and hold town hall meetings with staff to ensure we can support everyone through this next phase,” he said.

It follows Racing Victoria announcing its own mandate for all trainers, jockeys and staff to be vaccinated with at least one dose by the day of the Caulfield Cup on October 16.

Racing Victoria has also mandated that all staff must be fully vaccinated by November 27 when the Zipping Classic is due to be held at Sandown Racecourse.

RV chief executive Giles Thompson said the mandate could be affected by external factors.

“I want to let our participants and staff know that whilst we have set important deadlines for compliance, we will continue to monitor vaccine supply in the weeks ahead and retain some flexibility if issues arise, particularly for the younger members of our workforce,” Mr Thompson said.

“The possibility of crowds at our major race days later in spring and beyond that into 2022 is an important target for our industry and we need to ensure that we’re appropriately placed to welcome spectators back in a safe manner at the earliest opportunity, whilst protecting our staff and participants, and continuing to race.”