ATAGI updates terminology regarding COVID-19 vaccine status

4 March 2022

The term ‘fully vaccinated’ is being phased out in regards to COVID-19 vaccines, with ATAGI now recommending the use of ‘up to date’ and ‘overdue’.

Since the introduction of public health orders relating to vaccines in late 2021, the term ‘fully vaccinated’ has been used as a benchmark for workers in various settings like health care and education.

However, in a new guidance released in February 2022, ATAGI have recommended the terminology for COVID-19 vaccines is brought in line with other vaccination programs, by saying an individual is ‘up to date’ with their vaccinations rather than ‘fully vaccinated’. ‘Up to date’ will soon be used by the Australian Immunisation Register to assist in determining whether an individual has had the ATAGI-recommended number of doses of a COVID-19 vaccination.

ATAGI has recommended that this change occurs at the end of March 2022, recognising that there may be some legal and policy implications with the changing of the term, including the validity of vaccination certificates.

Employers are encouraged to regularly evaluate their COVID-19 policies, and may wish to adopt the new ‘up to date’ terminology in their vaccination policies or contracts, in order to accommodate any future changes made by ATAGI in relation to the recommended number of doses for COVID-19 vaccinations.

It is also the time to review approaches to vaccination more generally in policies where relaxation of measures has been forecast.  A diligent approach to the issue as a matter of safety should continue to be the focus of employers, regardless of the application of directives or public health orders.

Read the full ATAGI statement here.

EMA Legal can assist employers with all queries relating to COVID-19 issue in or impacting the workplace.

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