Australian unions reject proposal that collects worker vaccination data

Under the proposal, large employers would be able to act as vaccine hubs, granted indemnity to vaccinate staff and collect employees’ vaccination records.
By: | July 6, 2021

Unions in Australia have rejected an industry proposal for companies to access employees’ vaccination records.

The chief executive of Australian Industry Group, Innes Willox, proposed some measures to help speed up the country’s slow vaccine rollout. Under the plan, large employers would be able to act as vaccine hubs, and employers would be granted indemnity to vaccinate staff.

“Large employers in particular are standing by to effectively turn their workplaces into vaccine hubs but many tell me they are worried about potential liabilities if there are adverse reactions and even potential liabilities if they strongly encourage their workers to get vaccinated,” he said, according to Guardian

“The federal government currently indemnifies GPs and other commonwealth providers of the vaccine but no indemnity exists for any employers who encourage or mandate COVID vaccinations,” Willox added. 

Under current guidelines, employers can only collect vaccination records from their staff only if it is necessary with their consent, unless an exception applies under laws or public health orders. 

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“Employers should not be able to undermine the federal government’s ability to dictate the order of priority for vaccine access, and handing over worker’s confidential data to employers in situations where there is no relevant public health order is unacceptable,” said Sally McManus, secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions in a statement.