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More Australian universities say students must get vaccines

Vaccinations in Australia
What should students know about vaccinations in Australia? Australian universities moving towards vaccine mandates. Source: Saeed Khan/AFP

As Australia works towards reopening its international borders, incoming international students in the country will want to get vaccinated as an increasing number of Australian universities are requiring vaccine mandates. So, what do students need to know about vaccinations in Australia?

Vaccinations in Australia: Australian universities moving towards vaccine mandates

The University of Melbourne has made it a requirement for everyone on campus to be vaccinated from November 5. “As part of our ongoing response to the pandemic, the university is making COVID‑19 vaccinations a requirement for attending our campuses to minimise the risk of COVID‑19 to our community,” said the university on its website. 

They add that a fully vaccinated student body and workforce will reduce disease transmission rates, minimise the severity of any breakthrough infections and reduce the likelihood of severe disease requiring hospital admission. “It will also assist in reducing disruption to on-campus activities from future exposures,” it said. 

Monash University — one of Australia’s Group of Eight universities — also announced it would make vaccinations mandatory for staff, students and visitors, including contractors, who attend its Australian campuses or offices.

La Trobe University said from early December, anyone attending campus — including staff, students, contractors and visitors — will be expected to be fully vaccinated. Other Australian universities are reportedly mulling vaccine mandates. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the University of NSW and the University of Sydney are surveying students and faculty members about attitudes to jab mandates.

NSW Vice-Chancellors’ committee convenor Professor Barney Glover was quoted saying that all large universities in metropolitan Sydney were contemplating making vaccine mandates for students and the committee was talking to the government about its view.

“Mandating vaccines is much more complex if you are in Wagga or Armidale or Lismore, because of availability of vaccines in regional NSW, than it might for the University of Sydney,” he said. The high levels of voluntary uptake of vaccination among staff meant it may not be necessary to make it mandatory, unless they work in health-related settings, added Glover.

Vaccinations in Australia

Currently, TGA approves AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Source: Saeed Khan/AFP

Vaccinations in Australia may not be the fastest, but it’s working its way up

Vaccinations in Australia is moving at full throttle. According to government data, 52.6% of people aged 16 and over are double vaccinated. Australia’s international borders are expected to reopen to travellers with Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA) recognised COVID-19 vaccines. Currently, this includes AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. 

NSW Australia’s international students can start returning to their education providers from early December 2021. The pilot plan will bring in 250 international students per fortnight, but Chinese students — a key student market — could be excluded from NSW’s pilot plan because China’s vaccines are not recognised by TGA.

UNSW and the University of Sydney are reportedly exploring ways for Chinese and Nepalese students to get vaccinated with a TGA-approved vaccine. “We are very happy to work with the university sector to look at ways in which we can have all international students obtain a vaccine which is TGA approved and to bring them to NSW,” NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet was quoted saying by The Sydney Morning Herald.