Western Australian health care workers’ views on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for the workplace

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Abstract

Background: Health care workers (HCWs) are at an increased risk of catching and spreading Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) compared with the general community, putting health systems at risk. Several jurisdictions globally have mandated or are looking to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for this cohort, but little is known about the acceptability of this measure, especially in different contexts, and there is little qualitative data to explore nuance, depth, and the reasons behind HCWs’ opinions.

Methods: In-depth semi-structured qualitative interviews were undertaken with 39 HCWs in Western Australia (WA) between February-August 2021, ascertaining their views on the prospective introduction and implementation of mandates for COVID-19 vaccines. Data were thematically analysed using NVivo 20

Results: There was broad support for COVID-19 vaccine mandates for HCWs amongst our participants, but also different views about what such a mandate would mean (redeployment versus termination) and how it would impact the rest of the workforce. One vaccine hesitant participant said that mandates would be their prompt to get vaccinated. Other participants invoked an informal code whereby HCWs have an obligation to be seen to support vaccination and to protect public health more broadly. However, they also raised concerns about implementation and procedural and policy fairness

Conclusion: Policymakers should consider how to mobilise the informal code of health promotion and public health support if introducing mandates. They should also consider whether HCWs will bring the same attitudes and approaches to mandates for additional vaccine doses.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100657
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Policy And Technology
Volume11
Issue number3
Early online date26 Jul 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022

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