Vaccination guidelines at Queensland hospitals and healthcare facilities
When Queensland’s border restrictions ease on Monday 13 December 2021 we might see more COVID-19 circulate in our community. To ensure our hospital and healthcare systems are not getting overwhelmed, the State Government has put health directions in place.
From then, there will be visitor restrictions for unvaccinated people in vulnerable facilities, including hospitals and healthcare facilities. This direction is not relevant for patients but those wishing to accompany a patient, or to visit the hospital for reasons other than seeking care.
The reason for this health directive is that we know individuals who are vaccinated are much less likely to be infected, therefore less likely to spread the virus. Patients who attend hospitals may be unwell and more vulnerable to contract COVID-19 when getting in contact with unvaccinated people. The health directive was therefore put in place to reduce the risk of transmission from unvaccinated people to vulnerable people who depend on healthcare.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) reports that Pfizer and Moderna are over 90% effective for preventing disease and over 70% for AstraZeneca. When vaccinated people do get sick, the chances of severe illness, hospitalisation or death are low. The transmission rates will vary depending on the COVID-19 variant, with some more transmissible than others (such as the recent Delta and Omicron variants).
What does this mean for our patients?
My practice rooms at Spring Hill and the Sunshine Coast are healthcare facilities, and therefore these vaccination restrictions apply. As mentioned above, this direction does not apply to patients. Patients do not need to be fully vaccinated to attend an appointment.
However, patients will be unable to bring a partner, family member, friend, or carer to their appointment who is unvaccinated. To attend a healthcare appointment as a visitor, this person must be fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated means having received two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine. This applies to both my consulting practices and the hospital. An unvaccinated partner, family member, friend or carer will be also unable to visit patients after surgery or collect you inside the hospital.
There will be some exceptions for visitors at hospitals or healthcare facilities for end-of-life visits and emergency situations.
Healthcare and hospital staff and vaccination
Healthcare staff are all fully vaccinated and my practice is happy to confirm that all of our practice staff are also fully vaccinated, and we anticipate that we will receive our booster shots soon.
Making a decision to get vaccinated
There are very clear benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine for everyone who is eligible. ATAGI recommend people who are immunocompromised (such as cancer patients) should be among the priority groups to receive the COVID-19 vaccines due to their increased risk of severe illness. If you are a cancer patient and have questions you can seek advice from your GP. You can also read my blog on COVID-19 and vaccination for cancer patients.
Obtaining proof of vaccination
Visitors will be required to show proof of vaccination upon arrival at the practice or the hospital. We also ask all patients to check in with the Check in QLD app. You can read more on How to get proof of COVID-19 vaccination on the Queensland Government website.
The easiest way to show proof of vaccination is through the Check in QLD app. Steps to add your certificate are here.
Visit the Queensland Health website for more information.