Victorian health care workers will need a flu shot to continue working in high-risk settings such as hospitals, ambulance services and aged care services.

Under the new assignment announced this afternoon, employees will have until August 15 of each year to perform their duties or risk being reassigned to other duties or having their employment terminated.

Potential healthcare workers who are not immunized will not be eligible to take on roles in the industry.

Health experts predict an unusually busy flu season in 2022, as more people are integrated into the community and exposed to both COVID-19 and flu.Credit:Jason South

This mandate was first launched by the state government in 2020 but its rollout has been delayed due to the pandemic and the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Deborah Friedman said vaccination would ease the strain on the state’s healthcare system and protect patients from a challenging winter.

Health experts predict an unusually busy flu season in 2022, as more people are integrated into the community and exposed to both COVID-19 and flu.

Associate Professor Friedman said: “Victorian health services have had to meet staff immunization targets set by the Department of Health since 2014.

“However, these influenza vaccine requirements will improve their ability to protect their employees and reduce strain on the health care system.”

The rules will apply to Class A and B healthcare workers, including staff who have direct contact with patients, bodily substances, infectious materials and the dead.

Healthcare workers who do not have direct contact with patients or access treatment areas will be encouraged to immunize.

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