Mandates requiring health workers in NSW to receive two doses of a Covid vaccine in order to work will be scrapped this week. 

In March, NSW Health said it was reviewing the rule and it has now been revealed that it will be removed for existing personnel and for new recruits from Thursday. 

The rule was put in place in August 2021 and about six months later NSW Health said that 995 staff members had either resigned or been sacked for not following the policy. 

Former paramedic and campaigner against the mandate John Larter received a letter from lawyers for NSW Health informing him of the change.

‘This symbolises NSW Health have acknowledged they can no longer continue to maintain their position due to overwhelming evidence that mandatory vaccination was a misuse of power,’ Mr Larter told 2GB’s Ben Fordham Live.

‘It was completely disproportionate and unreasonable to sack frontline workers which negatively impacted health workers, patient care and outcomes,’ he said.

‘Lets hope all of those sacked workers are reinstated and compensated.’

Queensland and Western Australia removed their Covid vaccine requirements for health workers in 2023.

NSW and some other states require staff in health or aged care to already get flu vaccines each year. 

Mr Larter had previously launched legal action against the mandates and taken NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard to the Supreme Court in 2021.

The devout Catholic argued the laws were invalid and that they stopped residents from conscientously objecting to the vaccine on religious grounds.

Mr Larter said he did not receive the AstraZeneca vaccine because he believed it was sourced from the cells of aborted fetuses. 

He lost his court battle after Justice Christine Adamson dismissed his case. 

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said NSW Health will continue to strongly recommend all its workers stay up to date with their vaccinations, in line with advice for the broader community.

‘While the latest evidence shows most people have now developed protection from serious disease due to vaccination and/or previous infection, Covid remains a serious public health issue,’ Dr Chant said.

‘Covid vaccination continues to provide strong protection against severe illness, particularly for people at higher risk of serious illness and death from Covid, including older adults and those with underlying health conditions.’

The latest advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends a Covid vaccination every six months for all adults aged 75 years and over.

A Covid vaccination every 12 months for adults aged 65 – 74 years is also reccommended, and adults aged 18 – 64 with severe immunocompromise should consider a vaccination every six months.

A yearly Covid vaccination should be considered for all other adults aged 18 – 64 years, and those aged 5 -18 years with severe immunocompromise.

Covid vaccines prevented almost 18,000 deaths among people over 50 in NSW as the Omicron strain hit, a study has estimated.

A Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and Monash University joint research team looked at Australia’s vaccination campaign to get an insight into what would have happened had NSW’s rollout been different.

The team used computer simulations to find how vaccinations and boosters impacted the Omicron wave between August 2021 and July 2022.

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