Economic and Psychosocial Impact of Covid-19 Vaccine Non-Compliance amongst Australian Healthcare Workers

Author(s): Charles I McDonald, Peter I Parry, Peter Rhodes.

In September 2021 public health employees in the state of Queensland, Australia, were directed to accept Covid-19 vaccination, or risk disciplinary procedures, suspension and termination of employment. We hypothesised those non-compliant with this mandate would suffer economic hardship, psychosocial harm and possible suicide risk. Wider ramifications might include loss of highly skilled personnel from the workforce. In early 2023 an online survey was disseminated through social media. This consisted of 63 questions on employment; exemptions; natural immunity; disciplinary action; appeals; economic and psychosocial harms. Of 369 participants, the majority were female (85.9%) and of nursing profession (55%). We found a reduction in income (reported by 94.4%). The majority (94.9%) believed psychosocial harm was caused as a direct result of state government policy. Anxiety and depression were experienced by 92.1% while 34.1% had had thoughts of suicide. This survey of staff disciplined for non- compliance with Covid-19 vaccine mandates in the state of Queensland, Australia, found wide-spread harm. Impact was biased against females and single parent households. Natural immunity was dismissed by authorities. The disciplinary processes failed to consider possible economic or psychological damage. The devastation caused could have intergenerational impact beyond that revealed in this study.

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