All is forgiven: Minister says staff sacked over Covid jabs ‘welcome to reapply’

State Minister Shannon Fentiman says Queensland Health workers who were sacked for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine are “welcome to reapply” for their jobs.

Feb 29, 2024, updated Feb 29, 2024
New Health Minister Shannon Fentiman (AAP Image/Darren England)

New Health Minister Shannon Fentiman (AAP Image/Darren England)

Ms Fentiman reiterated that the state government was considering a Supreme Court decision after a successful challenge to Queensland’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Queensland’s Supreme Court on Tuesday found police and ambulance service workers were unlawfully directed to receive vaccines or face potential disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

However Ms Fentiman encouraged health workers who had been axed over the mandate to return to a depleted workforce.

“All of them are welcome to reapply,” the Health Minister told reporters on Wednesday.

“As you know we have a critical shortage of health workers across the globe not just here in Queensland.

“A number of them have been re-employed across parts of Queensland and I would welcome them to reapply for positions in Queensland Health.”

Ms Fentiman said the mandatory vaccine policy for ambulance service workers was dropped in 2023.

“I do want to reiterate that the Supreme Court found that the limit on workers’ human rights in this case was justified because we were in a global pandemic,” she said.

“It was the process about that decision and how that related to employment contracts that the court then found that the HR policy was of no effect.”

Police Minister Mark Ryan said his department was also getting legal advice following the ruling.

“The response around COVID-19 was all about keeping Queenslanders safe,” he said.

“Vaccines work, vaccines keep people safe and it doesn’t matter what the vaccine is or what the disease is, people should be making the decision to get vaccinated.”

The Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday did not make a ruling or attempt to make a decision about the transmissibility of a particular variant of COVID-19 or the efficacy of a particular vaccine.

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