Osteopathy Australia COVID-19 vaccination position statement

A policy paper outlining Osteopathy Australia's position on COVID-19 vaccinations

COVID-19 and Osteopathy

Australia is currently experiencing a coronavirus pandemic that has impacted hundreds of milions of people and killed millions globally. The pandemic continues with increasing variations and global spread. In Australia the national public health response has involved restricted movements, activities, or significant lockdowns. More recently vaccination to reduce transmission, illness and hospitalisations has been prioritised.

Osteopaths, as registered allied health practitioners, are university trained and required to continually update their expertise based on contemporary scientific evidence. Osteopaths work across primary healthcare, participate in broad public health initiatives, and take a holistic view of clients’ health needs, lifestyle and wellbeing.
As part of the ongoing response to the pandemic, it is vital that Australia’s osteopaths play an important role by providing accurate, evidence-based information to clients and their communities, as well as participating in public health initiatives such as vaccination programs.

Public health orders, regulation, and compliance

Osteopathy Australia expects osteopaths will comply with all regulation and public health orders to safeguard the public and their colleagues. Some State and Territory governments have issued public health orders recommending or mandating COVID-19 vaccines for healthcare workers, across all healthcare or within certain facilities, to ensure the safety of patients and other workers.

Osteopaths, as an important part of the primary health system should comply with and enforce all public health orders.

All registered health practitioners have responsibilities outlined by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the National Boards to “to promote the health of communities and meet obligations with respect to disease prevention including vaccination, health screening and the reporting of notifiable diseases”.

The Osteopathy Board of Australia supports the vaccine program and encourages all registered health practitioners to get vaccinated, unless medically contraindicated; plus ensure they provide accurate information and advice about COVID-19 vaccination, including in social media and advertising.

While AHPRA and the Osteopathy Board of Australia regulate osteopaths, Osteopathy Australia educates and guides but does not regulate osteopaths nor the rollout of vaccines.

COVID-19 Vaccination

For over a decade Osteopathy Australia’s public policy statement regarding vaccination has stated, “Osteopathy Australia supports public vaccination programs as important public health initiatives. Parents and patients with questions or concerns should consult a medical practitioner, child and family health nurse, or state health department.”

Our public policy statement remains unchanged.

Osteopathy Australia believes osteopaths should be vaccinated, unless medically contraindicated, for their own protection, for the protection of clients, and to reduce potential burden on Australia’s healthcare system.

COVID-19 vaccination information sharing and social media

Ahpra’s codes of conduct explain the public health obligations of osteopaths including participating in efforts to promote the health of the community and meeting obligations on disease prevention.

Any promotion of anti-vaccination statements or health advice which contradicts the best available scientiļ¬c evidence or seeks to actively mislead or undermine the national immunisation campaign (including via social media) is not supported by Ahpra or the National Boards. Such information may be in breach of the codes of conduct and subject to investigation and possible regulatory action.

Osteopathy Australia recommends that clients wanting information on COVID-19 vaccination should be referred to consult a medical practitioner, state health department, or via resources available here: www.health.gov.au/initiatives- and-programs/covid-19-vaccines.