Safety, Health and Wellbeing

Immunisation guidelines

Our role is to develop and assist in the implementation of the UWA safety, health and wellbeing programs in order to minimise the risk of injury, illness and property damage.

We provide consultancy and other services to promote best practice and legislative compliance in all University and related activities.

The University of Western Australia is committed to providing employees, students, contractors and visitors with a safe and healthy environment for work and study. The University recognises that employees, students (medical, dental and others), contractors and visitors working or studying at the University, may, as part of their work or study, be at a potential risk of exposure to infectious diseases. These guidelines describe responsibilities related to immunisation requirements at the University of Western Australia. The University recognises its responsibility to make available appropriate immunisation to employees potentially at risk of exposure to vaccine preventable diseases, including those that are caused by the exposure to blood or body fluid products.

  1. Persons at risk
  2. Responsibilities
  3. Occupation-based recommendations / testing
  4. How to arrange vaccinations
  5. Records
  6. References

Persons at risk

The University promotes continual assessment of the risk of exposure to infectious diseases, prompt identification of those who may be at risk and provision of relevant information, instruction, training and supervision. Those persons who may have an increased risk include:

  • childcare staff
  • first aiders
  • students (particularly medical and dental students)
  • staff who handle human blood and body tissue
  • animal handlers / laboratory personnel working with animals
  • staff and students who handle bats
  • grounds staff, cleaners, plumbers and security staff where there is a risk of needlestick injury, exposure to blood or body fluids
  • travellers to developing countries.

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Responsibilities

The University

The University will provide, as appropriate, education and information on infection control for persons who may carry out tasks or activities in areas where there are identified risks.

Deans and Heads of School / Centre / Administrative Unit (in their area of control)

  • Shall ensure that all supervisory personnel, employees, students and others are aware of and act upon their responsibilities in accordance with these guidelines, associated University policies and legislative requirements.
  • Shall encourage non-immune persons to be vaccinated and shall advise those who decline of the health risks related to their work or course of study. Employees and students who decline vaccination must sign an acknowledgement form. There are separate forms for employees (required) and students (for whom completing this form is optional).
  • Shall conduct risk assessments for persons who decline vaccination to determine if any alteration to their work or course of study is required to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Shall provide financial assistance for employees for an immunisation course and the blood test as required.
  • Shall maintain confidential records of immunisations at least at a School / Administrative Unit level and ensure that reminders are sent when required.

Supervisors (in their area of control and as relevant)

  • Shall ensure that all persons under their supervision follow these guidelines, associated University policies and legislative requirements.
  • Shall ensure that appropriate information, instruction, training and supervision is provided to persons under their supervision.
  • Shall ensure that Principles of Standard Precaution in accordance with Australian Guidelines for the Prevention of Infection in Healthcare 2010 (NHMRC) and safe work instructions are adopted by themselves, and persons under their supervision.
  • Shall ensure that details of vaccinations and other documentation is provided to the School or Administrative Unit.
  • Shall ensure that appropriate information and medical intervention is provided as required prior to and in the event of an exposure.

Staff, students and others

  • Shall comply with these guidelines, associated University and local procedures and work instructions.
  • Shall contact their supervisor or course coordinator for advice if unable or not willing to be vaccinated.
  • Shall advise their consulting doctor of any pre-existing medical conditions to ensure that they can be vaccinated safely.
  • Shall keep records of their vaccinations.
  • Shall provide their supervisor or course coordinator and School or Administrative Unit with evidence of immunisations.
  • Shall provide receipts for reimbursement where applicable.
  • Shall report to their supervisor, course coordinator and the University if exposed to an infectious agent (see Reporting incidents, injuries, illness, desease or near misses).
  • Shall not put at risk the health of others in the event of becoming aware of being a carrier of an infectious disease.

Safety, Health and Wellbeing (in their area of control)

  • Assist Deans and Heads of School or Administrative Units and Supervisors to implement these guidelines and for providing advice as required.

University Medical Centre

  • Provide relevant immunisation procedures and advice as required.

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Occupation-based recommendations / testing

The University recommends that all employees, students and others at risk of exposure or at risk of exposing others to infectious diseases are aware of their immune status.

In addition to the general recommendations, members of certain occupations are strongly advised to follow the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Immunisation Schedule (see below). Most immunisations are available from either the University Medical Centre or from many community general practitioners. Specialist immunisations are available from the Department of Health, Western Australia and other providers (see section "How to arrange vaccinations" below).

Immunisation Schedule

Those who have direct contact with human blood and body tissue, which includes those engaged in dentistry, medical practitioners, health care students, laboratory staff, maintenance engineers who service equipment, sterilising service staff and those involved in decontamination and disposal of potentially contaminated materials.

  • Hepatitis B x 3 doses followed by serological confirmation of immunity
  • Influenza (annually)
  • DTPa (triple antigen vaccine for Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (whooping cough) within last 10 years having completed primary course DTPa for tetanus component
  • MMR (combination vaccine for Measles, Mumps and Rubella) x 2 doses
  • Varicella (Chickenpox) x 2 doses
  • Consider vaccination for other potential infections including Hepatitis A and Tuberculosis

First aiders

  • Hepatitis B

Childcare workers

  • Hepatitis A
  • MMR (combination vaccine for Measles, Mumps and Rubella) x 2 doses
  • Pertussis (Whooping cough)
  • Varicella (Chickenpox)

Animal handlers / laboratory workers with animals (depending on duties)

  • Tetanus
  • Rabies
  • Q Fever depending on duties

Staff and students who handle bats (both flying foxes and microbats)

  • ABL (Australian Bat Lyssa virus) using rabies vaccine (recommendation: two-yearly antibody titres)

Plumbers

  • Hepatitis A (if exposed to raw sewage)

Grounds staff, cleaners, plumbers and security staff at risk of needlestick injury, blood or body fluids

  • Tetanus recommended if they sustain an open wound injury while at work

Travellers to developing countries on official University business

  • Staff and students travelling overseas should seek medical advice at least six to eight weeks before departure

Laboratory personnel

  • Those who work with micro-organisms should seek advice which is specific for the bacteria, viruses or fungi that they may encounter.

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How to arrange vaccinations

Vaccination against the following infectious agents is available through the University Medical Centre. Where more than one infectious agent is grouped together, a single vaccination is available for the group.

  • Diphtheria / Tetanus
  • Diphtheria / Tetanus / Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • MMR (Measles-Mumps-Rubella)
  • Meningococcal Type A, C, W and Y combined
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Polio
  • Typhoid
  • Varicella (Chickenpox)
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Other vaccinations can be arranged via:

Immunisations can also be arranged or provided by general practitioners. Where immunisation is necessary due to the risk of exposure or exposing others to infectious diseases, the cost of immunisation of employees shall be met by the School or Administrative Unit as long as the immunisation is undertaken. Reimbursement for the cost of immunisation of students shall be at the discretion of the Heads of School or Administrative Unit.

The University recognises that employees, students and others have a right to:

  • Choose whether or not to be vaccinated.
  • Choose whether or not to disclose their immune status.

Neither employees, students nor others are required to disclose information relating to their health status except as required under the Western Australian Health Act 1911-1984.

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Records

The immunisation provider is legally required to maintain confidential records of all immunisations and should be advised immediately of any adverse reactions from such immunisations.

Evidence of immunisation should be provided by the employee, student or other to the supervisor or course coordinator and to the relevant School or Administrative Unit.

The School or Administrative Unit is required to maintain confidential information on those employees, students and others who have had immunisations as part of their work or study and for providing reminders as required. It is recommended that a central file at a School or Administrative Unit level be maintained for employees, students and others.

Acknowledgement of Declined Vaccination forms should be completed and retained for those who decline to be immunised (the RTF version of the form below can be completed electronically.

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References

Government of Western Australia - Department of Health


Australian Government - Department of Health


Australian Government - Department of Health and Ageing


Australian Government - National Health and Medical Research Council


University of Western Australia:


Others:

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