Vaccine priority call for retail workers

·1-min read

The NSW union covering retail, fast food and warehouse workers says its members urgently need priority vaccine access, with more than eight in 10 of the state's COVID exposure sites at shops or shopping centres.

An SDA analysis of sites listed in NSW Health alerts between July 2 and July 9 found 64 per cent of close contact locations were retail outlets.

Some 79 per cent of casual contact sites were also identified as being a shop or shopping centre.

In the 48 hours from July 7 to July 9, 79 per cent of close contacts and 87 per cent of casual contacts were at a shop or shopping centre.

With retail workers at the frontline of the pandemic and given the risk of providing essential services to the community, they need to be given priority now, says SDA NSW Secretary Bernie Smith.

"We've seen how transmissible the Delta variant is and how many retail outlets have been visited by COVID-19 infected shoppers in NSW," he said in a statement on Sunday.

"It's just madness that retail workers are being ignored when it comes to vaccines."

Mr Smith said the union acknowledged the undeniable priority for health care, aged care, disability and quarantine workers along with the vulnerable.

"However retail workers must be included in the ATAGI priority grouping of 'those working in services critical to societal functioning'.

"It's harrowing that there are thousands of retail workers in NSW out there on the frontline of the pandemic with a high risk of being exposed to the virus but they are not on the priority list to be vaccinated."

The union wants workers under 60 given access to Pfizer and those over 60 Astra Zeneca, as per the age-appropriate ATAGI advice.

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