Australia mulls nationwide workplace vaccination

Large businesses in the private sector are encouraged to come on board to speed up the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations.
By: | July 8, 2021

Together with Lieutenant General John Frewen – the head of the vaccine rollout, Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will discuss proposals to use workplaces to facilitate the rollout using a similar model to how flu vaccinations are provided to employees, as the government looks to the end-of-year “sprint” in Australia’s latest efforts to inoculate its population. 

The country’s largest employers which have indicated their interest to participate in this programme include Qantas, Telstra and Optus, and representatives from the major supermarkets and big four banks, as well as industry groups the Business Council, Property Council and Farmers Federation. 

The programme, which is now headed by an army official and named ‘Operation COVID shield’, will have businesses participating in a “national business partnership wargaming session” during the roundtable in the next two weeks. 

Frydenberg said engaging the country’s business community was a logical next step in the vaccination rollout. “Throughout the pandemic, we have partnered with the business community, and we are looking to do so again to roll out the vaccine in a safe and efficient manner,” he said. 

“As we move our focus from suppression to living with the virus in line with the roadmap set out by the National Cabinet, our largest employers will play an important role in supporting Lieutenant General Frewen roll out the vaccine.” 

READ: Australian unions reject proposal that collect worker vaccination data

Much of Australia’s COVID-19 vaccines is due to arrive in the coming months, but the bulk is scheduled to reach the country only in the fourth quarter of the year. The virtual meeting is expected to establish a “framework” outlining how employers can set up workplace vaccination sites, according to The Guardian.