Hundreds of health workers at risk of job loss over COVID-19 jabs

Up to 2000 health workers risk losing their jobs for not being vaccinated against COVID-19 with paramedics, nurses and doctors who have been stood down expected to explain why they have not got a shot.

NSW Health Services Union secretary Gerard Hayes said the state was “very close to making the call” about terminating the employment of health workers refusing to get a COVID-19 jab without an adequate reason.

He said of 140,000 employees, up to 1000, including his members faced losing their jobs in the coming weeks. He said paramedics, nurses, and doctors who were stood down at the end of last month were now expected to “show cause” why they have not been vaccinated. Nurse union members could take the number up a further 1000.

“Decisions could be made on their employment this week and next week,” Mr Hayes said. “It is a very small minority of health workers.”

NSW Health said 215 health workers had so far quit since late last month over their position on vaccination.

“Any further people leaving NSW Health due to their views on the COVID-19 vaccine will be known in coming weeks,” a NSW Health spokeswoman said. “Local Health Districts need to work through each person’s particular circumstances and due process needs to be applied to all employees.”

The news of further job losses come as a paramedic lost his Supreme Court challenge against mandatory vaccination on religious grounds on Wednesday.

John Edward Larter, a paramedic from Tumut in the NSW Riverina, sought an exemption from vaccination on religious grounds. He also challenged the validity of the COVID-19 public health orders that made it mandatory for him to get vaccinated.

NSW Ambulance Service paramedic based at Tumut, John Larter.

NSW Ambulance Service paramedic based at Tumut, John Larter.Credit:Mark Jesser

The court rejected his application and upheld the public health orders saying it would be of no comfort to a patient infected by an unvaccinated healthcare worker to be told they were “unlucky by being in the wrong ward at the wrong time because most healthcare workers had been vaccinated”.

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