Your rights: Can your practice demand you have the COVID-19 vaccine?

In the coming weeks and months, thousands of healthcare workers across Australia will be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The vast majority will do so willingly.

But not all cases are simple and there will be those who are reluctant on medical or even religious grounds.

What protections do such doctors have? Avant's employment law expert Sonya Black explains.


Matilda is an employed GP working in private practice.

She has a history of severe allergies and an anaphylactic reaction to polyethylene glycol (PEG), which is from a group of known allergens commonly found in medicines. It can also be found in household goods and cosmetics.

Matilda is reluctant to be vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine because it contains PEG.

In addition, Matilda is a practising Roman Catholic. She is reluctant to be vaccinated

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