The Australian Government is making the COVID-19 vaccines available to as many people in Australia as possible in 2021.

The vaccine is safe, free and universal. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will help protect you from getting sick from COVID-19. For information in relation to mandated industries to be vaccinated, refer to the South Australian COVID-19 Declarations and Directions page.

COVID-19 vaccines as a control measure

COVID-19 vaccines are one of a range of COVID-19 control measures that employers should consider as part of their obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA) (WHS Act).

Both employers and workers must also follow any Directions issued by SA Health and the South Australian State Coordinator relating to COVID-19 vaccinations.

For businesses where there is no Government directive for vaccination, the COVID-19 vaccine can be considered as one of a broad range of control measure to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in workplaces.

Under the WHS Act employers must identify whether there is a risk to the health of their employees from exposure to COVID-19 at their workplace.

Where a risk is identified, employers must eliminate the risk, so far as is reasonably practicable. When elimination is not possible, they must reduce the risk so far as reasonably practicable.

The controls an employer uses will vary depending on the situation, as well as the availability and suitability of controls for each workplace.

Employers need to continue implementing control measures to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 according to the hierarchy of controls.

Control measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 include:

  • physically isolating, for example by allowing employees to work from home where it is reasonably practicable
  • creating workplace bubbles to minimise contact between employees, for example keeping employees on different shifts separate by using different entry and exit points
  • maintaining a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres from others
  • wearing a face mask when required, unless a lawful exception applies
  • everyone practising good hygiene by regularly washing their hands or using hand sanitiser
  • ensuring employees who feel unwell do not go to work – they should get tested at a nearby testing location and return home immediately

You must also continue to follow any health directions that apply to how you operate your business.

Safe Work Australia has released information on the COVID-19 vaccination program and the WHS responsibilities of employers and workers. This includes a fact sheet 5 things to know about your WHS duties and COVID-19 vaccines.

Also see the SA Health website for information on the COVID-19 vaccines and how they work.