Australia mandates vaccination for service workers in Northern Territory

Australia's Northern Territory has made it compulsory for anyone serving the public at work to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
By: | October 15, 2021

Such workers would include shop workers, tourist guides and barbers. By Christmas Eve, anyone working with the public must be fully vaccinated or face a fine of A$5,000 (US$3,679) and instant dismissal.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner said, “I am making sure we do everything possible to get everyone vaccinated.”

He added, “You work in hospitality – you need to get the jab. Retail or a supermarket – you need to get the jab. If you are behind the counter at a bank or a receptionist, you need to get the jab. A barber, hairdresser or beauty therapist – you need to get the jab… (if) you are a front-line worker in the economy, that means you must be vaccinated.”

Although more than 80% of the territory’s adult population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, Gunner said there were “patches of concern” and communities where people are hesitant of or refusing the vaccine.

The territory has seen just 214 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began and zero deaths, but officials admit that the run will not last. “One day, perhaps one day soon, it will be here, and it will stay here. We’re going to have to live with it,” Gunner said. “If you don’t get vaccinated, there is a much, much higher chance that you will die.”

READ: Australia disburses A$27 billion to firms that did not qualify for subsidies

The Northern Territory stretches from Darwin to the outback settlements of Alice Springs and Uluru and is home to many Aboriginal and other vulnerable remote communities, according to AFP.