CSIRO’s COVIDSafe Workplaces Direction – which mandates all staff and visitors attending CSIRO workplaces to be vaccinated against COVID-19 – has been relaxed amid rising cases of both coronavirus and influenza.
The vaccine mandate came into effect in mid-January and required all staff wishing to attend a CSIRO site be fully vaccinated or have a valid medical exemption as a condition of entry.
In announcing the implementation of the direction last November, CSIRO Chief Executive Larry Marshall highlighted CSIRO’s track record supporting vaccination throughout the coronavirus pandemic and the need to set an example to the wider community and “a responsibility to lead the way.”
Following a review, informed by a staff survey, Executive Director Katherine Paroz announced the changes to the direction.
“Since the Direction came into effect at the beginning of the year, the COVID landscape has changed significantly. For instance, we have seen increased community spread, and a widespread easing of public health restrictions across the States and Territories,”
“I am confident the updated Direction strikes the right balance for our people, while continuing to effectively manage the risks associated with COVID-19 at our sites,” Ms Paroz said.
From 29 June 2022, the updated direction:
While for the purposes of the direction, the definition of fully vaccinated continues to include two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, CSIRO is recommending staff avail themselves of booster shots.
“For those eligible, you are also strongly encouraged to have your third or fourth booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to maintain your immunity,” Ms Paroz said.
“With winter fast approaching we will be spending more time indoors, leading to an increased risk of catching and spreading the influenza virus… (and with) COVID-19 still circulating, this presents the very real possibility of catching both viruses at the same time, posing a significant health risk.”
While CSIRO administers a no-cost vaccination program for employees, most state and territory governments announced plans to make the flu shot free to the public, for a limited time, in response to the resurgent influenza season.