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Vaccine mandates for NSW health workers reconsidered

Vaccine mandates for NSW health workers could soon be dropped as the state government weighs up lifting the COVID-19 pandemic-era requirements.

Health Minister Ryan Park confirmed the change would be considered after consulting with the state's health workforce.

"We know that COVID is still around but we've got to get back on with life," he told Sydney radio 2GB on Monday.

"That means having a look at the measures we put in place during this period and seeing whether they still apply.

"We think this is one that we can engage with the workforce on and have a look to see if it's still applicable now."

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said if consultation led to mandate changes, workers would continue to be strongly recommended to stay up to date with their vaccinations.

"COVID-19 vaccination continues to provide strong protection against severe illness, particularly for people at higher risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19, including older adults and those with underlying health conditions," she said.

"While the latest evidence shows most people have now developed protection from serious disease due to vaccination and/or previous infection, COVID-19 remains a serious public health issue."

Orders mandating vaccines for all health-care workers were introduced in August 2021 and staff who refused to comply either quit or were sacked.

Mr Park said if a decision was made to drop the mandates, workers who lost their jobs would be able to reapply to available positions through the usual recruitment processes.

He said COVID-19 was still a public health threat and encouraged people to keep up with their vaccinations.

"But we've also got to make sure that we get on with running a health system after COVID and we can't continue in the same way that we did in the middle of the pandemic," he said.

Current advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation is a vaccine dose every six months for people aged 75 years and over and every 12 months for people aged 65 to 74 years.

Immunocompromised people can consider having a vaccine every six months, while all other adults between the ages of 18 to 64 should consider a vaccine dose every 12 months.