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Vaccinations and Immunisation Procedure

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Section 1 - Purpose and Scope

(1) This Procedure supports The University of Queensland's (UQ or the University) Health, Safety and Wellness Policy in protecting the health, safety and wellness of our people by minimising the risk of vaccine-preventable disease (VPD) transmission occurring whilst working, volunteering, visiting or attending academic or research programs at UQ.

(2) The application of this Procedure is intended to reduce the risk not only for those within the scope of this Procedure but also for the broader community affiliated with UQ (for example, placement providers and their clients). It excludes Controlled Entities who manage the vaccination requirements for their industry independently. 

(3) This Procedure outlines responsibilities for Organisational Units, Supervisors and Managers and provides instruction for those who, due to the nature of their activities at the University, may be at higher risk of exposure to VPD. This Procedure should be read in conjunction with the associated Vaccinations and Immunisation Guideline.

(4) The UQ immunisation and disease screening website also provides important details regarding immunisation compliance processes.

Legal Context

(5) In addition to supporting other policies and procedures at UQ, the University must ensure compliance with relevant Commonwealth and State laws, and any government directives and guidelines that may apply, including but not limited to:

  1. Queensland Health - Vaccination of Healthcare Workers Guideline
  2. Queensland Health Service Directive 047, Protocol - Vaccine Preventable; Disease Screening for Contractors, Students and Volunteers
  3. Queensland Health Chief Health Officer Public Health Directions
  4. Australian National Guidelines for the Management of Healthcare Workers; Living with Blood Borne Viruses and Healthcare Workers who Perform Exposure; Prone Procedures at Risk of Exposure to Blood Borne Viruses - 2019
  5. WorkSafe Queensland Guidance on Vaccine-Preventable Diseases.
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Section 2 - Process and Key Controls

(6) UQ requires all persons classified as UQ workers to be immunised and/or screened prior to commencing UQ work tasks or coursework that involve increased risk of exposure to VPDs. See Section 7 for definition of ‘UQ workers’ for the purposes of this Procedure.

(7) Immunisation and/or disease screening requirements must be identified to minimise the risk of VPDs.

  1. Risk assessments are required to identify workplace tasks/locations and/or student placement/coursework or other activities associated with an increased risk of acquisition and/or transmission of a VPD.
  2. UQ also has an obligation to comply with legal requirements and demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements from statutory bodies such as Queensland Health, and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ).

(8) Information about additional risks of VPDs should be communicated to UQ workers and others well in advance of exposure to allow sufficient time for assessment and risk mitigation requirements to be met. Appropriate referral for immunisations/ screening should be communicated along with information regarding other preventative measures such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and training.

(9) Current and prospective UQ workers must ensure they receive the appropriate vaccinations or screening as identified for their engagement with UQ (for example, work tasks, placements, study or other activities). 

(10) UQ workers must submit immunisation or disease screening evidence (evidence of vaccination or non-susceptibility) to UQ when requested prior to commencement/engagement in any activities with increased risk of VPD.

(11) Immunisation or screening evidence submissions from UQ staff and students must be verified for compliance by appropriately qualified assessors. All person’s compliance status must be available to those responsible for initiating the requests as well as the key contacts (Supervisor, Principal Advisor, or Faculty placement teams). Records must be processed and retained in a secure repository.

(12) Non-compliance with mandatory immunisation requirements may impact the person’s ability to fulfil the inherent requirements of their engagement with UQ (for example, duties of their position or progression through their studies). For some roles, programs, and placements, proof of vaccination or evidence that an individual is not susceptible to specified VPDs is a condition of employment/program progression and completion or engagement as required by UQ.

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Section 3 - Key Requirements

Part A - Identifying VPD Risk

(13) Some occupations and program categories have been identified as likely to have an increased risk of acquisition or transmission of VPD.

(14) These include:

  1. Healthcare work or placements in Queensland Health (QH) or other clinical facilities.
  2. Regular or frequent contact with clients who:
    1. are immune compromised;
    2. have a chronic health condition;
    3. are pregnant;
    4. are pre-school age; or
    5. are elderly.
  3. Education settings.
  4. Laboratory or other activities involving human blood, body fluids or tissue.
  5. Laboratory activities involving transmissible human or zoonotic pathogens.
  6. Interaction with wastewater or sewage.
  7. Contact with animals, animal blood, tissues, products or animal waste.
  8. Contact with bats or Australian bat lyssavirus virus.
  9. Interaction with pigs or poultry.
  10. First aid.
  11. Mortuary technicians and embalmers.
  12. Healthcare provision in remote Indigenous communities.
  13. Work related travel or field work activities.

(15) The exact nature and requirements of the engagement with UQ must be considered when initiating immunisation requests to UQ workers, prospective workers, and students. The requirements and recommendations for each category above are summarised in the following tables:

  1. Table 1 – Student immunisation by program/course;
  2. Table 2 – UQ Occupational Immunisation/Screening Requirements for UQ workers, Prospective Workers, HDR and other Research Students.

(16) Further information on identifying VPD risks can be found from the following:

  1. Vaccinations and Immunisation Guideline (Sections 3 and 4).
  2. The recruitment team, Supervisor, Principal Advisor or program enrolment guidance information.
  3. The Associated Information tab of this Procedure, if a healthcare worker or healthcare worker student or if working in hospitals or other clinical facilities.
  4. The relevant Institute, Faculty, School or Centre Health Safety Coordinator or HSW Manager.
  5. Safe working procedures in the work area including infection control measures to protect themselves and others in the workplace.
  6. A risk assessment or Standard Operating Procedure prior to commencing activities involving biological material.
  7. Laboratory entry requirements.
  8. Biosafety approvals.
  9. The UQ Biosafety Advisor or UQ Institutional Biosafety Committee if working with high-risk biological material.
  10. The UQ Immunisation Records Team.
  11. The UQ Immunisation and disease screening webpage.
  12. A medical practitioner (for example, UQ Health Care).
  13. The Australian Immunisation Handbook.
  14. A specialised travel clinic or medical practitioner for work or placement related travel.

Part B - Communicating Immunisation and Screening Requirements

(17) Immunisation and screening requirements must be effectively communicated to UQ workers well in advance of starting a workplace task or student placement where an increased risk of VPD has been identified.

Staff and Prospective Staff

(18) Supervisors and/or Managers are responsible for communicating and initiating immunisation requests for workers or students under their supervision, including visiting academics and affiliates. Safety network staff can assist in this process where appropriate.

(19) For prospective staff, the HR Client Partnering team is responsible for obtaining advice from the new staff member’s Supervisor or Safety Manager /Officer to identify roles where pre-employment immunisation requirements will need to be considered during recruitment.

(20) Specific immunisation requirements relevant to new position descriptions must be established prior to the development of recruitment documents, with consideration of the timelines required for full vaccination.

(21) Immunisation requirements relevant to an appointment at UQ must be included in recruitment advertising, position descriptions, and letters of offer as a condition of employment.

(22) Other processes relevant to communicating requirements include:

  1. New worker induction checklist (the online induction checklist links to the immunisation request workflow in UniTask).
  2. Safe work procedures.
  3. Risk assessments.
  4. Laboratory entry requirements.
  5. Biosafety approvals.

Higher Degree by Research (HDR) and Other Research Students

(23) Academic Principal Advisor or Supervisors developing proposals for HDR or other research projects must consider as part of the project development, whether the prospective HDR candidates or research students will be subject to specific immunisation requirements relevant to the position or project. This must be communicated at enrolment or the earliest possible opportunity, in order to provide enough time for vaccination requirements to be completed. Safety network staff should assist in this process where appropriate.

(24) Other processes relevant to communicating requirements include:

  1. New worker induction checklist.
  2. Safe work procedures.
  3. Risk assessments.
  4. Laboratory entry requirements;
  5. Biosafety approvals.

Students – Undergraduate and Postgraduate Coursework

(25) The relevant faculty is responsible for communicating immunisation and screening requirements to relevant students. Communications should be conducted well in advance of the students' enrolment and commencement of study.

Other UQ Workers

(26) The person engaging other-UQ workers (not covered in clauses 18-25) is responsible for advising them of any VPD risks they may face while undertaking work or activities for UQ or at a UQ location prior to the work or activities being undertaken

(27) All VPD requirements covered under legislation or Government Directions must be adhered to by the worker prior to any work or activities commencing. Evidence of vaccination must be provided if requested by an authorised UQ staff member or person in the work environment where the Legislation or Direction applies.

Part C - Completing Immunisation or Disease Screening

(28) Individuals must action outstanding requirements with their medical practitioner or vaccination provider as soon as possible and well prior to exposure.

(29) Medical advice should be sought prior to immunisation especially if they are pregnant or have any specific medical conditions. An appointment can be made with their own treating medical practitioner or at UQ Health Care for advice, immunisations, and screening tests.

(30) All individuals should protect themselves and the community by completing the current National Immunisation Program Schedule as recommended by the Australian Government Department of Health.

Sufficient Time to Complete Requirements

(31) Dependent on the worker’s immunisation or medical history, it can take some time to complete the identified occupational immunisation or screening requirements. This may be due to the minimal intervals required between immunisations and the amount of time required for immunisations to be effective.

(32) For example, those who may be exposed to human blood, tissue or body fluids in the course of their work or study are required by UQ be adequately immunised against hepatitis B and provide proof of immunity or evidence of non-susceptibility. The worker is advised to get medical advice as early as possible as the hepatitis B vaccination process can take up to 7 months to complete. Refer to Section 4 of the associated Vaccinations and Immunisation Guideline.

(33) Healthcare workers, other workers and healthcare students interacting in clinical areas of Queensland Health facilities or other health facilities must also be assessed for their risk of developing tuberculosis (TB) and becoming infectious in the future (that is, screening for latent tuberculosis). If latent TB screening is required, it can take up to 3 months for an appointment through the public health system. Refer to Section 4 of the associated Vaccinations and Immunisation Guideline.

Costs

UQ staff and HDR Students

(34) Prospective UQ staff are responsible for costs of vaccination and immunisation screening requirements if specified as a pre-employment or pre-placement requirement as outlined in the letter of offer.

(35) For existing staff and HDR Students, the relevant Faculty, School or Centre is responsible for resourcing vaccinations and pathology tests (for example, for proof of immunity) if required to prevent work-related transmission of VPD or are for work-related placements or travel.

Undergraduate and Post Graduate Coursework Students 

(36) Costs for course related vaccinations and immunisation screening for undergraduate and post graduate coursework students are at the individual's expense. Students may make an appointment with their own treating medical practitioner or at UQ Health Care for advice, immunisations and screening tests.

Other UQ Workers

(37) Persons not employed by UQ must seek clarification on vaccination cost responsibilities prior to engaging with UQ. Contractors must comply as ‘prospective staff’, as they should consider costs as part of their business with UQ and others. 

Part D - Submission of Evidence of Immunisation

(38) UQ staff and students must submit all requested immunisation/screening evidence for assessment and verification by the Immunisation Record Team (IRT) located in the Health, Safety and Wellness Division. A request for evidence must be initiated via the my.UQ system for the staff member or student by the relevant Supervisor or Organisational Unit before documentation can be uploaded.

(39) Supervisors, principal advisors, safety network staff and faculty placement teams can find information on Initiating Immunisation Requests for Students and Staff in the UQ Immunisation and Disease webpage. Also refer to Section 4 of this Procedure.

(40) UQ workers will be advised of the format for providing the evidence via the my.UQ request. The my.UQ request will direct healthcare worker staff or students to the appropriate forms included in the Associated Information tab of this Procedure.

(41) A my.UQ request cannot be initiated for a UQ worker who does not have an active placement recorded in the payroll system or a student who does not have a Si-net profile. Contact immunisation@uq.edu.au for advice.

Part E - Verification of Evidence

(42) Compliance with the requested immunisation/screening evidence for UQ workers is assessed by the IRT which is supervised by registered nurses with additional immunisation qualifications. Records will either be verified as complete or additional evidence will be requested directly from the worker or student through my.UQ. Records are assessed in accordance with the immunisation schedules as per the Australian Immunisation Handbook (AIH), legislative/legal requirements, and other government requirements (such as Queensland Health) and may be informed by advice from an Occupational Physician.

(43) The person/team who initiated the request for evidence as well as the key contact (Supervisor/Principal Advisor/faculty placement team) will have visibility of the status of the verification process (case) in my.UQ.

(44) UQ Reportal also contains reports to include the immunisation status for individual cases, cohorts and Organisational Units. Due to confidentiality considerations, access to UQ immunisation reports is limited. Safety Managers, Compliance Officers or the IRT can be contacted regarding staff reports. Placement/faculty compliance teams and the IRT have access to the student reports.

Part F - Non-compliance

(45) Failure to comply with relevant immunisation compliance requirements may lead to an increased risk of serious illness occurring to the individual and will therefore result in students or workers being denied placements or being unable to undertake tasks that place them or others at risk of VPD transmission.

UQ Workers

(46) For persons classified as UQ staff, non-compliance with immunisation requirements or an inability to comply due to health reasons, may impact the ability to fulfil the requirements of the employment or placement position. In these circumstances Supervisors should contact askhr@uq.edu.au or their local client services team (HR) for further advice.

Students

(47) For some students, including HDR students, a personal choice not to comply or an inability to comply due to medical reasons, may result in a situation where the student is unable to complete the practical requirements of their degree or higher degree program and consequently unable to progress in their program of study. Further advice can be obtained by contacting the relevant Institute, Faculty or School.

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Section 4 - Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

Heads of Organisational Units

(48) Heads of Organisational Units must:

  1. Ensure the effective communication and implementation of this Procedure within their areas of responsibility.
  2. Regularly review student program immunisation or disease screening requirements and consequence of non-compliance.
  3. Ensure sufficient resources are available to enable compliance with the requirements of this Procedure.

Supervisors, Managers and Academic Principal Advisors

(49) Supervisors must inform HR Client Partnering (HRCP) about specific immunisation requirements relevant to new position descriptions prior to the development of recruitment documents.

(50) Academic principal advisors developing proposals for HDR projects must consider as part of the project development, whether the prospective HDR candidates will be subject to specific immunisation requirements relevant to the position or project.

(51) Supervisors, Managers and academic principal advisors must:

  1. Identify and risk assess roles and tasks where vaccination requirements will need to be considered. This includes others not employed by UQ. Refer to the ‘Identifying VPD Risk’ provisions of this Procedure.
  2. Ensure persons under their supervision receive training in relation to preventative measures to reduce the risk of VPD exposure and transmission.
  3. Ensure persons under their supervision are provided with adequate information and resources in relation to seeking appropriate vaccinations if relevant to their UQ activities.
  4. Ensure a specific local site induction is provided to contracted workers prior to entering a workplace where a risk of infectious disease transmission exists (for example, in laboratories where biological pathogen research is conducted or in UQ Veterinary clinics where there may be a risk of zoonotic disease transmission).
  5. Ensure a request for immunisation compliance is submitted for UQ staff and students via a my.UQ/ My requests to ensure sufficient time for the immunisation verification workflow (including the time for the vaccinations to be effective), prior to the date of expected first exposure.
  6. Ensure immunisation compliance status for individuals is tracked and followed up prior to exposure.
  7. Continually review immunisation requirements if the nature of work or research tasks is subject to change.

HR Client Partnering (HRCP) and Talent Acquisition Teams

(52) HRCP and Talent Acquisition Teams must:

  1. Obtain advice from the new worker’s Supervisor, safety officer/Manager, or academic principal advisors to identify roles where pre-employment immunisation requirements will need to be considered during recruitment. 
  2. Include immunisation requirements relevant to a position appointment in recruitment advertising, position descriptions and letters of offer as a condition of employment.

Faculty Professional Staff – Placement/Academic Admin Teams

(53) Designated faculty professional staff must:

  1. Ensure immunisation and screening requirements are communicated to relevant students via the appropriate channels.
  2. Ensure a request for immunisation compliance is submitted to students via a my.UQ Request to ensure sufficient time for the immunisation verification workflow prior to the date of expected first exposure. Refer to ‘Submission of Evidence of Immunisation’ provisions of this Procedure.
  3. Ensure immunisation compliance is monitored and followed up according to expected first date of exposure.

Health Safety and Wellness Division and Safety Network Staff

(54) The Health, Safety and Wellness Division provides overall direction, advice and leadership to the University on work health and safety matters including relevant vaccination and screening requirements to minimise the likelihood of VPD exposure and transmission occurring in the workplace.

(55) Health, Safety and Wellness Manager and local Work Health and Safety Coordinators (WHSC) are responsible for communicating information about transmissible disease hazards relevant to their Organisational Unit and for promoting and facilitating cooperation between workers, students and management in the implementation of this Procedure and associated Guideline.

(56) The Health, Safety and Wellness Division administers the UQ Immunisation Records Team (IRT).

UQ Immunisation Records Team (IRT)

(57) The IRT must:

  1. Ensure immunisation records submitted by workers and students are appropriately assessed and verified for compliance relevant to the role or program, and in accordance with the Australian Immunisation Handbook and government requirements such as Queensland Health.
  2. Seek advice from an Occupational Physician in situations where compliance is unclear. Refer students if medical advice is required. 
  3. Ensure immunisation records provided by workers or submitted by faculties and Organisational Units remain confidential and are stored securely.
  4. Ensure a system is in place to ensure the request initiator is kept informed of the compliance status for each immunisation/screening request.
  5. Ensure immunisation compliance reports are available to the University and other relevant parties such as Queensland Health.

Current and Prospective Workers and Students, and Others

(58) Individuals should protect themselves by completing the current National Immunisation Program Schedule as recommended by the Australian Government Department of Health.

(59) All UQ workers (refer to definitions in Section 7 below) must comply with this Procedure. 

(60) In addition, UQ workers and prospective UQ workers must comply with safe working procedures including infection control measures to protect themselves and others in the workplace. This can be achieved by the following:

  1. Identify appropriate occupational or program/coursework/placement immunisation requirements. Refer to the ‘Identifying VPD Risk’ provisions of this Procedure.
  2. Action outstanding immunisation and screening requirements with a medical practitioner or vaccination provider as early as possible. Refer to the ‘Completing Immunisation or Disease Screening’ part of this Procedure.
  3. Workers or students involved in School of Veterinary Science or other animal related programs must refer to the immunisation requirements for their program or work role and Part E ‘Interacting with Animals Including Animal Blood, Tissues, Products or Animal Waste’ of the associated UQ Vaccinations and Immunisation Guideline (for example, Q Fever).
  4. Healthcare workers, other workers and healthcare students (including HDR students) who interact in Queensland Health or other clinical facilities are subject to the Queensland Health - Vaccination of Healthcare Workers Guideline. Refer to Section 3 of the associated UQ Vaccinations and Immunisation Guideline and the Associated Information tab of this Procedure to access the relevant worker or student immunisation record form.
  5. Healthcare workers (HCWs) or HCW students who undertake 'exposure prone procedures' (EPP) as a requirement of their work or admitted program must also submit an EPP Declaration (signed by a medical practitioner) in relation to blood borne virus screening - see Section 3 of the associated UQ Vaccinations and Immunisation Guideline. The EPP declaration is included in the worker or student immunisation record forms in the Associated Information tab of this Procedure. Submit evidence of vaccination and disease screening as requested. Refer to ‘Submission of Evidence of Immunisation’ provisions of this Procedure.
  6. Ensure that on-going compliance with vaccination/screening requirements is kept up to date; for example, blood borne virus screening or vaccination recall requirements for health care workers (for example, ten yearly pertussis boosters, annual influenza where relevant) and tetanus boosters for animal and agricultural workers as recommended. See Section 4 of the associated UQ Vaccinations and Immunisation Guideline.
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Section 5 - Monitoring, Review and Assurance

(61) The initiator of immunisation requests and/or the key contact (Supervisor, Principal Advisor, or faculty placement/administration teams) must track and follow up the compliance status of individuals prior to exposure. 

(62) Organisational Units are encouraged to use UQ Reportal to monitor overall staff and student immunisation compliance and follow up non-compliance.

(63) The Health, Safety and Wellness Division will facilitate reporting of immunisation compliance to Organisational Units on request and demonstrate compliance to other parties such as Queensland Health if required.

(64) The Health, Safety and Wellness Division will review this Procedure as required to ensure currency.

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Section 6 - Recording and Reporting

(65) Information collected by UQ in relation to immunisation requirements is collected for health and safety purposes and to meet UQ’s legal compliance obligations.

(66) Information may be disclosed to Queensland Health and/or other placement providers. UQ will not otherwise disclose this information to a third party without the worker’s or student’s consent unless such disclosure is authorised or required by law. For further information, refer to the Privacy Management Policy.

(67) A UQ worker failing to comply with immunisation requirements, or who has incomplete immunisation records, relevant to their role will be notified of outstanding immunisation compliance requirements.

(68) UQ worker immunisation records will be retained by the University as required by law and in accordance with the General Retention and Disposal Schedule (GRDS) for staff, and in accordance with policies and procedures related to information management and privacy.

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Section 7 - Appendix

Terms Definitions
Australian Immunisation Handbook Provides clinical advice for health professionals on the safest and most effective use of vaccines in their practice. These recommendations are developed by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). (See the Australian Immunisation Handbook)
Controlled Entities As defined in the Controlled Entities Policy . A list of UQ Controlled Entities is available here.
Heads of Organisational Units For the purposes of this Procedure, these roles provide leadership and direction of their portfolios (faculties, schools, institutes, divisions, companies (Controlled Entities), corporate functions, etc.)
HDR Students Enrolled Higher Degree by Research students at UQ.
Local Managers and Supervisors For the purposes of this Procedure, these roles report to the heads of organisational units and are intended to include all roles that manage groups of people or functional teams across UQ.
Principal Advisors Approved UQ staff members who take primary academic responsibility for the HDR candidate during their candidature. The Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors Policy details the academic role, accountabilities and eligibility for Principal Advisors.
HR Client Partnering Team Responsible for the provision of high level strategic and procedural direction and support on all facets of HR management to Managers and staff within a Faculty or Institute.
Si-Net The UQ business application that supports student related activities including admissions and enrolment.
Talent Acquisition Team Responsible for recruitment, candidate care and recruitment contracts.
UQ Workers For the purposes of this Procedure includes:

1. staff - includes an employee of UQ employed on a continuing, fixed-term or casual basis.
2. students – includes undergraduate, post-graduate, masters, higher degree by research (HDR), coursework, and students undertaking work experience.
3. visiting academics and researchers;
4. affiliates - academic title-holders, visiting academics, Emeritus Professors, adjunct and honorary title‚Ä'holders, Industry Fellows and conjoint appointments.
Contractors A contractor is an individual or organisation engaged under a contract / agreement (other than as an employee) to provide services to UQ.
Volunteers Members of the community who donate their services in a voluntary capacity to UQ without expectation of remuneration. Volunteers include those undertaking work on fundraising and community-oriented projects, tertiary students wishing to gain exposure to particular UQ functions, among others.
Vaccination The administration of a vaccine; if vaccination is successful, it results in immunity.
Zoonotic Disease A zoonotic disease is any disease or infection that is naturally transmissible from vertebrate animals to humans.