Registered health practitioners and the COVID-19 vaccination

 

As part of the ongoing national response to the pandemic, it is important that Australia’s registered physiotherapists and students are aware of the next stage of the public health response, including COVID-19 vaccination.

While Ahpra and the National Boards regulate individual health practitioners, we do not regulate the rollout of vaccines.

As state and territory governments implement COVID-19 vaccination, all registered practitioners have a key role to play by ensuring they provide accurate, evidence-based information to patients and their communities.

Physiotherapy Board of Australia (the Board) Chair Kim Gibson says ‘many registered health practitioners have a vital role in COVID-19 vaccination programs and in educating the public about the importance and safety of COVID-19 vaccines to ensure high participation rates.

‘It’s important that practitioners understand these expectations so that patients and communities are best protected against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.’

The National Boards and Ahpra have published a joint statement to help registered health practitioners and students understand what’s expected of them in giving, receiving and sharing information about COVID-19 vaccines.

Registered health practitioners and students remain critical to the success of the vaccination program by:

  • being vaccinated against COVID-19, unless medically contraindicated
  • being appropriately qualified and trained to administer COVID-19 vaccines if authorised
  • providing accurate information and advice about COVID-19 vaccination, including in social media and advertising.

The National Boards support the vaccine program and encourage all registered health practitioners to get vaccinated unless medically contraindicated.

Conscientious objection

Practitioners must be careful not to discourage their patient or client from seeking vaccination. It is important that practitioners inform their patient of their conscientious objection only when relevant to the patient’s treatment or care.

COVID-19 vaccination information sharing and social media

The codes of conduct for each of the registered health professions explain the public health obligations of registered health practitioners—including participating in efforts to promote the health of the community and meeting obligations on disease prevention.

Any promotion of anti-vaccination statements or health advice which contradicts the best available scientific evidence or seeks to actively undermine the national immunisation campaign (including via social media) is not supported by National Boards and may be in breach of the codes of conduct and subject to investigation and possible regulatory action.

Playing your part

Vaccination is a crucial part of the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kim Gibson acknowledged the exceptional leadership already played by physiotherapists during the pandemic.

‘Physiotherapists have been part of the remarkable public health response to the pandemic in Australia. We thank you for your efforts in this sustained public health response and in continuing to promote public health measures that protect the public.’

Click here for more information on the COVID-19 response.

 

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