Australians who refuse to be vaccinated against Covid-19 will be ‘likely’ banned from many workplaces and locations such as pubs and cafes, experts warn.
Broad vaccine mandates do not yet exist in Australia, with only 19 percent fully vaccinated, but for some high-risk workers these have already been introduced.
Elderly care workers and everyone in the quarantine system were ordered to get the shot by September after multiple outbreaks began involving unvaccinated workers.
Australians who refuse to be vaccinated against Covid-19 will be ‘likely’ banned from their workplaces and public life after moving across the United States
Despite there being no broad vaccine mandate to the general public in Australia, experts say specific high-risk workplaces may need vaccination in the future
This will likely be extended to other high-risk sectors and eventually many other companies as a benefit, experts told the ABC.
Google and Facebook already require staff to be vaccinated to work in their US offices, and will likely be asking the same question in Australia soon.
President Joe Biden announced Friday that U.S. federal law enforcement employees at the postal service will be required to sign a statement that they have been vaccinated.
The government stated that those who had not been vaccinated would have to wear masks and be subject to regular tests and strict social distancing rules.
Qantas boss Alan Joyce recommended a similar mandate in Australia, calling for mandatory jabs for all airline employees for passenger and staff safety.
“We believe vaccination against Covid should be a requirement for all aviation workers,” he told Radio National Breakfast on Friday.
Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce also argued that companies should have the power to reject unvaccinated customers.
Mr Joyce told Sky News vaccines would give entrepreneurs more freedom when it comes to protecting themselves from Covid-19.
“People in private companies will say, look, I have rights here too,” he said.
Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce (pictured) has also argued that companies should have the power to refuse unvaccinated customers
The deputy prime minister said vaccines gave companies more powers when it came to protecting themselves, staff and customers from Covid-19
“If you want to come to my barbershop or my daycare… then I may have a right to say, ‘have you been vaccinated?’
“And if you say you didn’t, I have the right as the store owner to say I can’t let you sit in a chair next to someone who has.”
The Fair Work Ombudsman said most employers not working in high-risk sectors would not be able to require vaccination at this point – but this could change with government regulations.
“In the current circumstances, the vast majority of employers must assume that they cannot require their employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus,” it reads.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison changed his stance on mandatory jabs on June 28, when it became mandatory for aged care workers to be vaccinated.
The cabinet is also considering the same policy for disabled care.
“Imposing a person to have a vaccine or not be able to work in a particular industry is something no government would do lightly,” Morrison said at the time.
“As a result, we have been working on this matter for quite some time on the basis of the best possible medical advice.”
Before then, the prime minister said it was unlikely that people in high-risk workplaces would get a jab, focusing instead on encouraging the majority of the population to roll up their sleeves.
Maria O’Sullivan, a public law and human rights expert, said ABC staff would not be very lucky to challenge their employer’s demands.
Appearing on Monday’s Today show, 2GB Radio breakfast host Ben Fordham said talks about ‘vaccine passports’ have begun in NSW.
Qantas boss Alan Joyce (pictured) has called for mandatory jabs for all airline employees for passenger and staff safety
It is currently mandatory for elderly care workers to be vaccinated, while the National Cabinet is considering the same mandate for disabled care workers
The radio host said the document would be required to attend major sporting events from 2022, adding that the decision would “upset a lot of people.”
“But right now we need some blunt instruments and extreme measures because this thing is moving at an extreme pace,” he said.
When asked why the federal government hadn’t yet prescribed the vaccine to fight recent outbreaks, Fordham said not everyone had access to a shot.
“We can’t do it now because not everyone has had a chance to get vaccinated, you would hope 2022 would be a bit of a turning point,” he said.
“The Prime Minister has already said that life will be very different at Christmas, and once enough of us have been vaccinated, we can say goodbye to the lockdowns.
“2022 sounds like a reasonable time to do it.”
Speaking to Venues NSW chairman Tony Shepherd, Mr Fordham said he was told the same requirement would likely apply to children.
Meanwhile, NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said boosting vaccines to allow workers to leave eight boroughs in the west and south-west of Sydney wouldn’t work until everyone had access to a shot.
NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said boosting vaccines would be a policy she would consider later if everyone had access to a shot
NSW recorded a further 207 cases of Covid-19 on Monday as the state was found to be on track to reach 70 percent of vaccination in just five weeks
Ms Berejiklian said she would consider that policy later when the vaccine was made available to everyone.
“If you’re vaccinated and you’re walking around the community, you can still give it to other people who haven’t been vaccinated and that’s not fair to them,” she said on WSFM radio.
“Until we give everyone a chance to get vaccinated, we need to stay safe and stay in this lockdown situation.”
NSW registered a further 207 cases of coronavirus on Monday, with 50 of the locally acquired infections in the community being contagious.
The announcement comes after it became known that Sydney’s lockdown could be lifted as early as September – with the state on track to reach 70 percent vaccination in just five weeks.