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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Court deems Covid-19 vaccine mandates unlawful for emergency workers

Health Industry Hub | February 28, 2024 |

Pharma News: Queensland’s Supreme Court has ruled that Covid-19 vaccine mandates imposed on police and ambulance service workers were unlawful, following judgments in three lawsuits involving 86 parties. The directives, issued in 2021 and 2022, mandated vaccination and booster shots for emergency service personnel, with potential disciplinary actions, including termination, for non-compliance.

The court found that Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll did not adequately consider the relevant human rights when implementing the vaccine mandate. Dr John Wakefield, the former director-general of the Department of Health, was unable to demonstrate that he had the authority to issue the mandate under the implied terms of employment agreements for ambulance service workers. Consequently, the court declared both mandates “unlawful” and ineffective.

While acknowledging that the directives limited workers’ human rights by requiring a medical procedure without full consent, the court deemed it reasonable given the emergency circumstances. Senior Judge Administrator Glenn Martin highlighted the complex balance between preserving human rights and the necessity to protect employees from infection, serious illness, and life-changing health consequences.

This ruling comes shortly after a significant legal victory for Daniel Shepherd, a public servant who, under the threat of job loss, received two Covid-19 vaccinations and later suffered adverse reactions. Despite SA Health still enforcing a mandatory Covid vaccination policy for some employees, Shepherd was awarded weekly income support payments and compensation for medical expenses due to his post-vaccine pericarditis, a landmark decision in the ongoing debate surrounding vaccination mandates.

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