Corrections officers roll up for public safety

Workers in Queensland’s correctional facilities have been praised for their high level of vaccine uptake as mandates come into effect in the State’s prisons.

The Chief Health Officer’s COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for Workers in a high-risk setting Direction came into effect on December 17.

The Commissioner of Queensland Corrective Services, Paul Stewart APM said that initial information showed that Statewide, less than 2% of officers affected by the mandate that came into effect on Friday December 17 have so far failed to show proof of their vaccination status.

“Our officers have done a remarkable job throughout this pandemic, and their high levels of vaccination uptake is just further proof of their commitment to public safety,” Commissioner Stewart said.

“Prisons have been identified as vulnerable workplaces internationally, and there have been significant outbreaks in prisons across the globe, affecting officers and prisoners alike.

“Every day our officers put on their uniform and perform one of the most challenging jobs on the front line of public safety, and they do so without fanfare.

“So it is not surprising that they rolled up their sleeves and got vaccinated at rates that appear to be higher than the general population.

“I’d like to thank every one of our officers who have protected themselves, their colleagues and everyone in the correctional system by getting vaccinated.

“We will work with the officers who have not yet provided proof of their vaccination status, or who have medical exemptions,” Commissioner Stewart said.

For their safety, the safety of their colleagues and prisoners, the small number of officers who are yet to provide proof of their vaccination status have either been placed on suspension or will be in the coming days.

The suspension and discipline processes will be undertaken in accordance with Public Service legislation, directives and policies, and officers will be able to return to the workplace once they provide proof of their vaccination status.