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Experts doubt the retention of Victorian vaccination mandates

by Anthony L. Gonzalez

Epidemiologists suggest that Victoria’s remaining double-dose COVID-19 vaccination mandates are unwarranted, except in vulnerable work environments.

Professor Nancy Baxter, head of the University of Melbourne’s School of Population and Global Health, said there were two considerations regarding Victoria’s vaccine mandates.

Firstly, the state has a high vaccination coverage with two doses that did not increase, and secondly, the authorities have decided not to impose boosters on most workers.

Experts doubt the retention of Victorian vaccination mandates

Prof Baxter said reducing transmission was not the main reason for having vaccine mandates anymore, as the effects of vaccines on transmission declined over time.

“(We’ve eliminated density restrictions, mask-wearing, and work-from-home recommendations… those (measures) that we know will be effective against transmission,” Prof Baxter told a Victorian Parliamentary inquiry into the state’s pandemic orders.

“It’s unclear why we maintain mandatory vaccines just for that.”

Think differently where patients and clients are at risk

Professor Margaret Hellard of the Burnet Institute said the investigative bodies still need to take steps to minimize cases and deaths as Australia could see between 10,000 and 15,000 COVID-related deaths this year, which was “way too high”.

Prof Baxter noted that many Australians remained unprotected against the virus, including children under five and some immunocompromised people.

She said it was also important to think differently about mandates in aged care, health care, and disability care, where patients and clients were particularly at risk.

Professor Catherine Bennett of Deakin University said things had fundamentally changed since the mandates of two doses of vaccines were deemed justified and necessary.

“I don’t think there was any dispute that[mandates]were involved at the time,” said Prof. Bennett.

“It made a difference regarding our population-level response and control, but I don’t think there would ever be an argument — even before Omicron — to keep the two-dose mandates in place.

“The difference between being unvaccinated and vaccinated was already disappearing with our very high vaccination rates.”

Reliance on non-paramedics is reduced.

She said the category of workers tied to a three-dose mandate differed greatly from the original type of a two-dose appointment because it is for specific institutions.

The investigation also found that Ambulance Victoria is phasing out its reliance on non-paramedics called in to help respond to emergencies as part of a COVID-19 wave workforce.

The workforce was convened late last year, including lifesaving surf volunteers, Defense Force personnel, and paramedic students.

The secretary of the Victorian Ambulance Union, Danny Hill, told 3AW on Thursday that the emergency services personnel were a big help but that relying on them contributed to burnout because it created more responsibility for decision-making for paramedics. The support personnel cannot drive under lights and sirens.

Staff speaks only of a temporary solution.

Ambulance Victoria acting COVID commander Matt McCrohan said staffing was always intended as a temporary solution.

Life-Saving Victoria has stopped helping, and the Australian Defense Force (ADF) will end its involvement in June. The defense made it clear to Ambulance Victoria that it didn’t wthat want to go any further than Mr. McCrohan said.

“Some of our paramedics would clearly… would rather work with a professional, qualified colleague,” said Mr. McCrohan.

He said 97 percent of Ambulance Victoria staff had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose before the vaccine mandates came into effect. As of Wednesday, 99 percent had three doses of vaccine.

The study was told that the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Foundation had 230 people cancel their membership due to vaccine mandates in the past 12 months.

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