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Victoria mandatory vaccination update

The Association has further considered and consulted on the current COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Specified Facilities) Directions (No 7) (Directions) in Victoria. On the basis of that further consideration, we provide the following update.

Massage therapists, remedial massage therapists and myotherapists – The Practitioner

In Victoria, it is the responsibility of the operator of a healthcare facility to ensure the Directions are adhered to. Specifically, the Directions require a healthcare operator to take reasonable steps to ensure that a healthcare worker does not enter or remain on the premises of a healthcare facility unless they have:

  1. received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination by 29 October 2021; and
  2. received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccination by 15 December 2021,

or where they have obtained an appropriate certificate from a medical practitioner that they are unable to receive a dose, or a further dose, of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Direction further requires healthcare operators to collect, record and hold vaccination information about the healthcare worker.

It is our view that massage therapists, remedial massage therapists and myotherapists do not fall under the definition of a healthcare worker under the Directions. As such, the Association considers that under the current Directions there is no absolute requirement for massage therapists, remedial massage therapists and myotherapists to be vaccinated where they practice from their own dedicated premises.

The above said, the Association further considers that where massage therapists, remedial massage therapists and myotherapists practice in healthcare facilities (such as hospitals, community health centres, general practices, allied health practices, etc) or residential aged care facilities, the operator of those facilities may require them to satisfy the abovementioned vaccination or exemption requirements before permitting entry to the premises.

Massage therapy, remedial massage therapy and myotherapy – the client

Under the Directions, a client seeking treatment from a massage therapist, remedial massage therapist or myotherapist is not required to be vaccinated.

In summary

Whilst massage therapists, remedial massage therapists and myotherapists have not been specifically referred to in the current Directions, massage therapy, remedial massage and myotherapy members may still, in certain circumstances, need to be vaccinated (or have the appropriate certificate from a medical practitioner that they are unable to receive the vaccine) in order to practice. Further, as health practitioners who work in the healthcare sector, they should always look to provide the best possible treatment to clients, in a safe environment for clients, employees and co-workers.

The Association considers it reasonable that clients may be asked if they have been vaccinated, in order to provide the best possible health assessment, treatment and safe environment for clients.

You should consider your health status, the health status of your colleagues, the health status and vulnerability level of your clients, as well as the health need of your clients, to make an informed decision about treating unvaccinated and vaccinated clients.

Please note that the above is a summary of the current position under the Directions as interpreted by the Association in order to provide general information to our members. It does not constitute definitive advice. Members who are uncertain as to any aspects of the Directions are encouraged to seek their own, independent advice.

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