Triple dose requirements introduced

Third dose vaccine mandates will take force at 11.59pm on Wednesday.

By Shelby Brooks

The Victorian Government has introduced a new triple vaccination requirement for key essential workers to allow them to continue operating on site.

Described as “important but proportionate changes”, the new mandate will be introduced to further protect highest-risk health care and hospitality settings – and key workforces – from the risk of outbreaks and super-spreader events.

Under new pandemic orders coming into place at 11.59pm Wednesday 12 January, healthcare, aged care, disability, emergency services, correctional facility, quarantine accommodation and food distribution workers who are already required to be fully vaccinated must get their third dose before being permitted to work onsite.

Workplaces must sight and record proof of vaccination.

Workers eligible for a third dose on or before Wednesday 12 January will have until Saturday 12 February to get their third dose.

Workers not yet eligible for a third dose will be required to get it within three months and two weeks of the deadline to receive their second mandatory dose.

The order responds to the increased risks of COVID-19 exposure to critical workers, their proximity to vulnerable people, the higher risk of the virus spreading in their workplace and the need to protect access to essential goods and services.

Minister for Health Martin Foley said it was a sensible extension of the state’s existing vaccination requirements.

He also announced indoor dancefloors within hospitality and entertainment venues will close from 11.59pm 12 January.

Venues can still operate and there are no changes to the density settings currently in place.

“Victoria is open and the community is encouraged to support businesses in a COVIDSafe way. Closing indoor dancefloors is a simple but important step – we know they pose an extraordinary risk of mass transmission,” Mr Foley said.

In addition, further visitor restrictions will be applied to hospitals and aged care settings – reflecting the vulnerable nature of patients and residents in these facilities.

Residents at aged care centres will continue to be permitted up to five visitors per day, but visitors must return a negative RAT result before entering. If no RATs are available at the facility, residents will be permitted no more than two visitors.

Visitors in hospitals must have received two doses of the vaccine or must return a negative RAT result before entering.

Adult visitors who are not fully vaccinated must wear an N95 mask during their visit.

Standard face masks continue to be mandated for children aged eight and above.

“No setting is more vulnerable than hospitals and aged care, and that’s why visitors to hospitals will be required to have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine or return a negative Rapid Antigen Test,” Mr Foley said.

Information on updated COVIDSafe settings and third dose vaccination requirements will be published at when the orders come into effect at 11.59pm Wednesday 12 January.