South Australia Police backflip on COVID-19 vaccination mandate for officers

South Australia Police have backflipped on a decision to only allow officers to work if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 after less than four months.

Police who have not received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to return to work from Monday as long as they wear a face mask and undertake a rapid antigen test at the beginning of their shifts.

The police force has announced that the Police Workers Vaccination Direction, which was issued in November last year to require all police workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, will be revoked from 7am on March 7.

SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens foreshadowed South Australia's major emergency declaration could soon end, bringing a change to vaccine mandates.
SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens foreshadowed the move earlier this week. (Getty)

It will be immediately replaced with a managerial direction which will see all police able to return to work.

However, SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens has said unvaccinated employees will be limited in “their ability to attend some settings such as residential aged care facilities, disability facilities and the forensic science building”.

The change is said to have occurred because the vaccine mandate was “to ensure COVID-19 did not significantly impact the ability of South Australia Police to serve the community”, according to a police statement.

“The Commissioner of Police is now confident that the risks to South Australia Police employees and members of the community can be effectively managed through alternative controls rather than unvaccinated staff being furloughed from the workplace,” the statement reads.

More than 98.5 per cent of the South Australia Police workforce is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to police.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21: A COVID-19 testing clinic signed at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital on January 21, 2022 in Sydney, Australia.  NSW has recorded 46 deaths from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, marking the deadliest day in the state since the start of the pandemic.  NSW also recorded 25,168 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hour reporting period.  (Photo by Jenny Evans / Getty Images)

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