Privacy obligations

Personal information and vaccination status

• The following advice applies to all jurisdictions in Australia.
• The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) deals with the rights of organisations and agencies to handle an individual’s personal information (including sensitive information) and privacy rights.
• ‘Sensitive information’ under the Privacy Act attracts a higher level of protection. It includes various information about an individual’s race, political opinions, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, criminal record and health and genetic information.
• This includes for example, vaccination status of patients.
Collection and disclosure of COVID-19 vaccination status of patients/visitors
• Australian Privacy Principle 3 (collection of solicited personal information) sets out the circumstances when an organisation may collect personal information. Uplifted privacy protections apply to a person’s COVID- 19 vaccination status since it constitutes health information and is therefore ‘sensitive information’ for the purpose of the Privacy Act.
• The collection of the sensitive information must be reasonably necessary for the business’ functions and activities (which may include preventing or managing the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace).
• At Cottesloe Sports Physiotherapy your vaccination status will be treated with same respect as your clinical notes and noted on our confidential database.

Ref: Kristy Muhlhan Principal Burke & Associates Lawyers for the Australian Physiotherapy Association. Personal communication to Anja Nikolic CEO of the APA. 3 November 2021.

More information about public health order vaccination obligations