Metro South staff among 4000 health workers suspended on full pay as government COVID vaccine mandate takes effect

A SMALL contingent of Metro South staff are among 4000 health workers who have been suspended for refusing the COVID jab, as a government vaccine mandate for the sector comes into effect this week.

STOOD DOWN: Some Metro South staff are among the 4000 health workers suspended for refusing a COVID jab.

STOOD DOWN: Some Metro South staff are among the 4000 health workers suspended for refusing a COVID jab.

Data has revealed 459 staff across Metro South - which includes Logan, Redland and Beaudesert hospitals - had no record of COVID vaccination with the health department.

Authorities confirmed about 4000 Queensland Health staff had been stood down on full pay after failing to meet requirements, which have been brought in ahead of borders opening later this year.

Workers in the state's healthcare system were required to have received one dose by September 30 and be fully vaccinated by the end of October.

Almost 1000 Metro South staff had no record of vaccination on November 1, but 527 of those were on leave and were not required to comply with the mandate until returning to work.

The department also received 295 exemption requests.

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said she expected vaccination rates to rise quickly among those who had been stood down, much like they had when a jab mandate was brought in for the aged care sector.

"We have a number of staff who will now go through a show cause process and we will put in place measures to manage any workforce shortages that might occur," she said.

"This is about keeping our staff safe, our patients and visitors safe, and making sure we have the staff so that when we do start getting those cases, we have staff that are vaccinated."

It is not known how long unvaccinated workers would remain on paid leave.

AMA Queensland president Professor Chris Perry said a mandate was necessary to protect patients and staff.

"We know the number of cases in Queensland will increase as people begin to move around the country more freely and we've witnessed Delta outbreaks in hospitals elsewhere this year," he said.

"The outcome can be devastating and we need to do everything we can to avoid something similar occurring here."

Ms D'Ath conceded there would be some disruptions to the system but the government had planned for them.

"Some of those people may come forward and get vaccinated very quickly, and we saw that with aged care (sector) as well," she said.

"I expect those numbers will start reducing very quickly, but this is ultimately a decision for the health worker.

"Whether you work in the public sector or the private sector in Queensland ... you are required to be vaccinated.

"If you want to work in a health workforce anywhere in this country, you are going to find the same requirements.

"It is not unreasonable and Queensland certainly is not going it alone in this space."

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This story Local health workers suspended for refusing COVID jab first appeared on Jimboomba Times.