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Vaccine Priority for Essential Workers

Our members are essential workers on the front line of this pandemic.

Every day, our members come into contact with thousands of customers which heightens their risk of exposure to COVID-19.

The SDA believes that essential retail and warehouse workers must receive priority access to the voluntary vaccination once critical and high-risk workers (such as those working in hotel quarantine and aged care) and the immunocompromised are vaccinated.

Workers, employers and the community have an interest in widespread voluntary vaccination. However, due to risks of exposure, transmission and serious disease along with issues relating to access and availability, prioritisation of particular groups is necessary.

Priority groupings should be defined based on:

  • Risk of exposure
  • Risk of transmission (to workers & the community) and
  • Risk to health (vulnerable health/comorbidities)

In a survey of over 2300 SDA members in late 2020, more than 1/5 of members (21%) said they had been coughed on or spat at during COVID-19.

Our retail, fast food and warehousing workers have formed a critical part of Australia’s response to the pandemic and should have access to the vaccine as early as appropriately possible.

Earlier in the year the SDA, along with the National Retail Association (NRA), wrote to Prime Minister Scott Morrison urging him to consider essential frontline workers in the retail, fast food and warehousing industries as a priority. The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and the SDA also engaged the Government to prioritise frontline essential retail and warehouse workers.

This will continue to be the position we advocate to Governments and other authorities.

Vaccination Leave

We are calling on all employers to provide additional paid vaccination leave for their workers, so no one has to choose between getting paid and getting vaccinated.

We have already seen several employers announce additional paid vaccination leave, including Officeworks, Bunnings, Kmart, Target Woolworths, Big W, Dan Murphy’s and BWS.

Other employers should follow the example set by these companies and provide additional paid vaccination leave for their workers. No one should have to lose pay or use their entitlements in order to receive their vaccinations.

If you have any questions about this or any other workplace issue, do not hesitate to get in touch.

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