NSW Premier urges bosses to ‘pressure staff’ to get vaccinated

Image of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian
Gladys Berejiklian is urging employers to "pressure" staff to get jabbed. (Photo: Brook Mitchell via Getty)

Business owners should “pressure” employees into getting jabs in arms, the NSW Premier believes.

In a plea to employers, Gladys Berejiklian said she was “as keen as everyone” to get the economy back up and running, but that this would not happen unless vaccination rates increased.

“Please, if you're a boss, an employer … please put pressure on your staff to get vaccinated. We're doing that, we need you to help us,” Berejiklian said.

“So we really are calling for business and industry [to] help us get your staff vaccinated, even if they're not allowed to work now, because chances are we can have them back sooner once they have their vaccination and that's a fact.”

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The more “jabs in arms” and the faster the spread is reduced, the more certainty businesses will have in moving forward, she added.

“Unless you fix the health aspects, the economy will continue to suffer,” Berejiklian said.

NSW is currently in an extended lockdown that will last until at least the 28th of August, as embattled state health authorities scramble to trace hundreds of new cases announced each day.

More than 4 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in NSW, and Berejiklian has outlined a target of 6 million jabs by the end of the month.

NSW has also issued grants of up to $100,000 for businesses forced to shut due to the protracted lockdown, but there are reports that Service NSW staffing shortages have left businesses waiting days and weeks to receive the grants.

WATCH BELOW: NSW records 262 new cases on Thursday

Companies join the vaccine rollout

Major organisations have joined efforts to have more of the population vaccinated, including some of Australia’s largest employers.

Supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles have secured priority access to the Pfizer vaccine for its frontline staff, who have been categorised as essential workers.

Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Bank and Westpac will begin a pilot program to offer the AstraZeneca vaccine for workers following a deal between the banks and Federal Government’s vaccine task force leader, Lieutenant General Frewen.

Today, fruit and vegetable processor SPC said it was making vaccines mandatory for staff. Employees and contractors have six weeks to schedule their first vaccine dose, or be prevented from coming to work.

According to a ruling by drug monitoring agency Therapeutic Goods Administration, it’s permissible for businesses to offer ‘cash for jabs’ – but they must have had both doses.

Community centres, such as sports centres, churches, temples and even a Westfield shopping centre in Brisbane’s north have turned into vaccination hubs as the national vaccine rollout picks up pace.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 05: People wait or the AstraZeneca vaccine at the pop-up, walk-in clinic at the Michael Wenden Aquatic Leisure Centre in Miller on August 05, 2021 in Sydney, Australia.
The Michael Wenden Aquatic Leisure Centre in Miller, NSW has been turned into a pop-up, walk-in clinic for the AstraZeneca vaccine. (Photo by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)

$300 to get jabbed: Labor plan dismissed by PM

Earlier this week, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said a one-off payment of $300 would incentivise more Australians to get jabbed.

The plan would cost $6 billion if everyone was vaccinated, and $5 billion if just 80 per cent of the population were.

“But that's a small amount compared with the $2 billion a week that these mass lockdowns are costing our national economy,” Albanese told the Today Show on Tuesday.

“This is something that we need to do. We need to get our vaccination rates up.”

While Australian doctors have backed the scheme and Berejiklian has said she is open to it, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has dismissed the plan.

“This is a serious public health crisis, it's not a game show,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

"If they do have hesitancy about vaccine[s], I am not going to pay them off," he said.

"I am going to pay for a GP to sit down with them and work through their concerns, which is what I have already done."

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