As part of our ongoing response to the pandemic, the University of Melbourne is making COVID‑19 vaccinations a requirement for attending our campuses to minimise the risk of COVID‑19 to our community. Today, Vice Chancellor Professor Duncan Maskell sent this message to the University community.
“I am writing today to advise that 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.
This decision is based on public health advice and is aligned to the Victorian Government’s roadmap, which currently states that onsite learning and work can re-commence for people who are fully vaccinated from 5 November. From this date, all students, staff, contractors and visitors attending our campuses will be required to be fully vaccinated.
The health, safety and wellbeing of our community is of the utmost importance. 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 admission to hospital. It will also assist in reducing disruption to on-campus activities from future exposures.
The nature of our university community and the way in which it operates means that there is frequent interaction as we move between the various learning, work and recreational settings across our campuses. We already have a large cohort of students and staff who study and work in settings which currently have vaccination requirements. Additionally, there are increasing requirements for people to be vaccinated to access services across a range of sectors and to be able to participate in community activities. Vaccination will allow members of our community to move seamlessly between activities on our campuses and participate in the experiences in broader society that will be made available to fully vaccinated individuals.
When government restrictions allow, we look forward to greatly increasing our on-campus activity, including face-to-face interaction and collaboration, which is highly valued by our students and staff. This is at the core of what we do in teaching, learning and research and it is indispensable to a rich academic experience and to university life in general. Vaccination is one of the most important tools that we have to start to move towards a more normal way of life.
As a public institution, we have an obligation to contribute to the best outcomes for society. Based on the advice of ATAGI, the TGA and other public health experts, vaccination is a key public health intervention to prevent infection, transmission, severe illness and death due to COVID-19 and vaccination is recommended for all Australians from 12 years of age.
The University of Melbourne takes its position as a leader in public health seriously. Our people, across all disciplines, have been contributing to the global efforts to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic since the very beginning. If you or someone you know needs further information on vaccinations, we have created a new VaxFACTS website, featuring a range of videos answering common questions about the vaccines.
Exemptions will apply for those with a valid reason for being unable to be vaccinated, including, for example, medical reasons or not yet being eligible to be vaccinated in Victoria. We will endeavour to support individuals with a valid exemption to complete their study or undertake their work, in a manner that is reasonable and practical
The effective implementation of this requirement is a shared challenge for the Victorian Government and for other organisations, not just universities. We are currently developing the implementation plans to support this requirement, and we will not have all the answers available to share today. Information will be progressively shared with you and added to our dedicated COVID-19 website, as has been the case since the beginning of the pandemic.
We are continuing to explore other measures, such as improved ventilation and increased use of outdoor spaces, to reduce the potential for transmission, building on those already in place such as masks, QR codes, physical distancing, sanitizer stations, density limits and additional cleaning.
We will continue to keep you informed as to how these and other public health measures will be implemented throughout the remainder of this year as we prepare for our Summer Term and Semester 1, 2022, when we hope to be able to welcome you all back onto campus.
Your decision – and those of your friends, family and colleagues – to get vaccinated will determine our future as a resilient community.”