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Victorian parents told wrong school jab rules

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The Victorian Premier has conceded the state’s education department has given wrong vaccination advice to parents about visiting their children’s schools.

Victoria’s education department had said on its website that parents must be triple vaccinated by March 15 if they want to visit school campuses and attend events.

Just over 51 per cent of Victorians aged over 18 have so far received a third dose of the COVID-19 jab.

Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Wednesday the statement is wrong, and said the education minister will fix the problem as soon as possible.

“I concede to you that there is a line on the website that is ambiguous — it’s wrong is a better way to put it,” he said.

A statement from the department of education released shortly after Mr Andrews’ press conference has clarified that a third vaccine dose is required for staff and visitors working on school sites, for example, Victorian parents working in canteens or volunteering in classrooms.

But it said a third dose is not yet required for parents and carers who are merely visiting school sites.

“Parents and carers visiting school sites are currently required to be double vaccinated,” the department said.

“We are still working through the updated ATAGI advice and will have more to say imminently about the definition of fully vaccinated for other cohorts.”

Hundreds of thousands of Victorian students missed more than 100 days in classrooms across the state’s six COVID-19 lockdowns.

When primary and secondary students resumed classes on January 31, school students were told to use several RATs per week to stop the spread of COVID-19 on campuses.

So far thousands of school students have tested positive for the virus.

But Mr Andrews said that so far, the absentee rate in schools in 2022 is lower than it was before the pandemic in 2019.

He cautioned that with international borders reopening, Victorian will be dealing with influenza outbreaks as well as the virus come winter.

“We are going to finish up with COVID and the flu, and we haven’t had that before,” he said.

– AAP

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