Mr Richard Amery to the Minister for Health—

  1. Has the group called the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) expressed concerns about the regulations that require the compulsory vaccination of health workers in New South Wales?
  2. Does this requirement relate to all health workers in all facets of health care under the authority of the NSW Health Department?
  3. Is this regulation designed to prevent the spread of infectious diseases to patients and other health workers?
  4. Is there any record of a disease being spread by an unvaccinated health worker to a patient, health worker or other person in:
    1. New South Wales;
    2. Australia;
    3. elsewhere?


I am advised:

  1. Yes.
  2. The policy relates to health workers who have direct patient contact.
  3. Yes.
  4. Yes. Transmission of vaccine preventable diseases in healthcare settings has the potential to cause serious illness and avoidable deaths in patients and other users of the health system, and to impact on outbreaks beyond the healthcare facility doors. Further, it increases the cost of health service delivery and is a significant occupational health and safety (OH&S) issue.
    There is substantial evidence both in New South Wales, Australia and other countries throughout the world of transmission of diseases including measles, varicella (chickenpox), hepatitis B and pertussis (whooping cough) from patients to health workers and from health workers to vulnerable infants and other patient groups.

Question asked on 31 May 2007 (session 54-1) and published in Questions & Answers Paper No. 6.
Answer received on 4 July 2007 and printed in Questions & Answers Paper No. 19.