Chief Minister Michael Gunner has decreed that nearly every Territorian must be vaccinated by November 12, or could lose their jobs and be repeatedly fined $5000.
The new orders expand on previously announced mandates for workers who “come into direct contact with people who are at risk of severe illness from COVID”, including Aboriginal people and children under 12 – which Mr Gunner said essentially meant all Territorians will be affected.
“There will be some circumstances where people won’t need to get vaccinated, but this is a very broad, principles-based vaccination policy that’s based on health advice,” Mr Gunner said at a press conference this morning.
“But most people know we are a very small jurisdiction, most people in the Northern Territory are one degree away from a vulnerable person.”
The new health direction will require employers to request proof of vaccination and also requires employers to keep a register of all staff member’s vaccinations. The mandatory vaccine rules will include workers interacting with customers at banks, grocery stores, barbers, hairdressers, beauty therapists and other businesses.
These workers will be required to have received their first dose by November 12 and the second dose by December 24.
A booster will also be required for workers in 2022, Mr Gunner said.
The mandate also includes those employed in “essential infrastructure, food or essential goods security or supply, or logistics in the Northern Territory”.
“All these workers, and many, many more directly interact with members of the public,” Mr Gunner said.
“That means you are frontline workers in our economy. That means you must be vaccinated.”
He also laid out three sectors and different dates for workers to provide evidence to their employer that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19:
- Residential aged care workers: must have received a first dose of the vaccine by 17 September 2021, and be fully vaccinated by 31 October 2021;
- Quarantine workers: must have received a first dose of the vaccine by 15 October 2021, and be fully vaccinated by 26 November 2021, as well as complying with COVID-19 testing requirements; and
- Freight transport workers: must have received a first dose of the vaccine by 1 November 2021, and be fully vaccinated by 13 December 2021, as well as getting tested every seven days.
“We will eventually open our borders whether you are vaccinated or not,” Mr Gunner said.
Mr Gunner said while the vaccine rates Territory-wide have been positive, rates in some remote communities was concerning and that the government was working on getting more people vaccinated in remote areas.
“Anyone in the territory who remains un-vaccinated and does not plan to get vaccinated, please know this: we are not waiting around forever. COVID is not waiting around forever,” he said.
Mr Gunner said quarantine measure would likely change by the end of November to transition to home quarantine but that could only be done after 80 per cent of the population was vaccinated.
“One day soon [COVID] will be here, and it will stay here,” he said. “We’re going to have to live with it. If you don’t get vaccinated, there’s a much, much higher chance that you will die from it. So make no mistake, staying safe from COVID is in your hands.”
While the Gunner Government imposed what could be the strictest mandate to get employees inoculated with COVID-19 shots in the country, it did not mention if there are indemnification regulations imposed in the case of unexpected adverse effects.
READ THE FULL LIST OF JOBS IMPACTED BY THE MANDATORY VACCINATION POLICY HERE.