The nation's peak medical body has labelled the ACT government's refusal to mandate COVID vaccinations for all healthcare workers as failing a moral requirement to prevent an outbreak in the sector.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr on Friday during the daily COVID media conference said "mandates in and of themselves don't guarantee that you won't see infections within particular workplace settings".
"The evidence would appear that fully vaccinated people - both staff and residents - can catch the virus and get infected," Mr Barr said.
"What we will see play out in those individuals is hopefully that the vaccines protect them from serious illness."
Mr Barr said the aged-care sector was one that already has mandatory vaccinations.
However, Australian Medical Association ACT president Dr Walter Abhayaratna said Mr Barr's comments "do not indicate that he's aware of the reduced risk of COVID infections and reduced of transmission of COVID for those who are vaccinated from a mandate".
"The mandate means that if you're a hospital worker, patients have an additional layer of protection," Dr Abhayaratna said.
"That is a moral requirement to provide them with that protection.
"They are more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 and we shouldn't have patients in that situation because they are in a hospital."
In late August, the AMA called for mandates for anyone working at medical centres, including receptionists and cleaners, as soon as possible to combat the highly-infectious Delta strain.
"It's the right for people who are being looked after in a hospital to know that their carers, and all the people in the healthcare facility, have the lowest chance of transmitting the disease," Dr Abhayaratna said at the time.
The criticism comes after a nurse at Calvary Hospital tested positive to the virus on Thursday.
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Dr Charlotte Hespe, chairwoman of the NSW-ACT faculty of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, said she had sent a letter to Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith supporting the move to mandate vaccinations for all health staff.
"When we look at the ethical framework of health care workers looking after patients, there is a responsibility to look to a bigger picture," Dr Hespe said.
"It's more than a personal view about whether you do or don't want to get vaccinated.
"While I fully understand and respect individual rights, in this scenario, we can see the data around the importance about keeping staff and patients safe, making sure they all feel okay to come to work with those around them."
Dr Hespe said an option for workers who do not wish to be vaccinated would be to pause work until lockdown eases.
Most jurisdictions across the nation have mandated vaccinations in their respective healthcare sectors.
The ACT recorded 19 new cases on Friday, including two cases linked to the Haydon Retirement Community.
The territory has 217 active cases with about 57 per cent of those aged 12 years or older having two vaccination doses.
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