VIC’s COVID Rules Include Booster Mandates For *All* Essential Workers, Not Just Health Workers

An image of a nurse holding a covid vaccine needle, as Victoria mandates booster shots to all essential workers.

Calling all Victorian essential workers: get your booster shot booked, because they’re about to become mandatory. It’s hot vaxxed summer part two, baby.

The Victorian government has introduced a new slew of restrictions, the most impactful one being a booster shot mandate for essential workers.

Mandatory vaccines aren’t new for essential workers in Victoria, who already had to get the jab to keep working in 2021.

Now, Victorian Minister for Health Martin Foley has cited the “profound increase in hospitalisation numbers” (818 today, to be exact) as what prompted the state government to mandate a third COVID vaccine for those that work in essential sectors.

According to The Guardian, the mandate was introduced in new pandemic orders last night, and will be signed by Foley today.

Crucially, the mandate isn’t just for health care workers — it’s for all essential workers, including ‘supermarket and retail workers’. I just know there is a Tree of Life manager out there quaking.

If you are part of the following groups, you need to get your third COVID vaccine within the next three months to keep working:

  • Healthcare workers
  • Aged care workers
  • Disability workers
  • Emergency service workers
  • People who work in prisons and corrections
  • Hotel quarantine workers
  • Food distribution workers, including manufacturing, warehousing and transport
  • Supermarket and retail workers
  • Abattoir, seafood, and meat processing workers

The deadline for when you need to get your booster by differs depending on when you got your second shot, but it’s a general ball park of two weeks from when you become eligible.

If you’re an essential worker that will be eligible for their booster shot before 12 January, then your deadline is 12 February.

If you become eligible for a booster shot after 12 January, your deadline to get the shot is three months and two weeks from the date of your second dose. Which gives you a two week window from the day you become eligible.

Assuming all essential workers were vaxxed by the previous mandate deadlines, this means aged care workers should have their booster shots administered by 1 March.

For all healthcare workers in general the deadline is 29 March, and for everyone else, it’s 12 March.

Workers with a valid medical exemption are of course, not included in the mandate.

Wondering how to book your booster? No sweat. You can book through Victoria Health here, or you can walk into a vaccine clinic, GP or pharmacy. Check out this clinic finder for a place to get your shot.

As for the rest of Victoria’s new restrictions, indoor dance floors must close from 11.59pm on Wednesday except at weddings, bringing the state in line with NSW.

Speaking of NSW, the state’s controversial move to allow food supply workers an exemption from isolation requirements if they become a close contact in order to work has also now been implemented in Victoria.

Victoria’s food supply workers can now be exempt from isolation in order to work if they are asymptomatic and take a rapid test daily to confirm their negative status. Even though rapid tests only pick up positive results in a specific window, usually between day 5 and 7 of infection. Capitalism is hell, etc.

All other workers should work from home where possible.

And lastly, visitors to aged care centres must receive a negative rapid test result before entering. If there aren’t rapid tests available, then aged care residents are only allowed a max of two visitors per day (instead of the current cap of five visitors).

People visiting those in hospitals also need to test negative on a rapid test before entering.