Most workers must have been double-dosed with a COVID-19 vaccine by Christmas under new rules announced on September 13.
Vaccination will be mandatory for people who work with vulnerable people, customer-facing jobs, are involved in logistics or infrastructure critical to Territory or Aboriginal communities and community services sector.
The Chief Health Officer's direction will make it mandatory for certain workers to have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by November 12, 2021 to continue working in the same role.
Workers who are required to get the COVID-19 vaccine are:
- Workers who come into direct contact with people who are at risk of severe illness from COVID, including Aboriginal people and people who cannot be vaccinated due to age or a medical condition;
- Workers who are at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 because they work in a high-risk setting where there is a known risk of COVID-19 transmission or outbreak; and
- Workers who perform work in essential infrastructure, food or essential good security or supply, or logistics in the Territory.
Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunners said that simply not wanting the vaccine would not be a reason for a exemption from the rules.
COVID-19: READ MORE
He said that people would have until November 13 to have had their first dose, so the latest to get it would be November 12 - a month away.
Mr Gunner said that this was achievable as at present bookings for vaccinations could be made within 10 minutes.
He said that the second dose must have been administered by December 24.
Mr Gunner also said boosters would be looked at in the future and that employers would be able to request proof of vaccination rom their staff.
A statement released at the time of the press conference said that relevant employees who were not vaccinated by 13 November 2021 will not be permitted to attend their workplace, and will face a $5,000 fine if they do not comply with the Chief Health Officer Direction.
The Direction allows employers to request proof of vaccination, and requires them to keep a register of staff showing their vaccination status. It also acknowledges that a booster will be required for workers in 2022 and that the Direction will be amended to mandate the booster when it becomes available.
In addition, earlier timeframes are in place for residential aged care workers, quarantine workers and freight transport workers, in line with the National Plan.
The three sectors must 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.
Vaccine appointments are available at NT Vaccination Centres, GP Clinics, Respiratory Clinics, Pharmacies and Aboriginal Health Clinics.
Make getting the vaccine a priority. Book online or call the COVID-19 Hotline on 1800 490 484.
Walk-ins are welcome at NT COVID-19 Vaccination Centres in Palmerston, Coolalinga, Alice Springs, Katherine, Tennant Creek and Gove.
For more information visit about the mandatory vaccination for workers visit https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au.
MORE to come
Earlier: Chief Minister Michael Gunner will make an announcement about mandatory vaccinations for a significant portion of Territory workers this morning.
Mr Gunner is scheduled to provide an update at a press conference in Darwin at 11am.
It comes as the Northern Land Council released a statement expressing concern about Mr Gunner's announcement, saying they expect it to be consistent with a "National Plan" that they have not been consulted on.
The NLC also expressed concerns about comments made by Health Minister Natasha Fyles on Monday which they say implied that the NT will not be able to protect Aboriginal Territorians who aren't vaccinated.
"Some communities, where it might be just a couple of hundred people, we have virtually no protection with the vaccine," she said.
She said that during previous outbreaks in the NT, the government were able to prevent movement within communities but that they were "in a different space now."
"People need to understand that as a government we might not be able to protect them apart from the vaccine, and they should take the vaccine," Ms Fyles said.
NLC Chairman Samuel Bush-Blanasi said he was concerned the NT Government was "throwing Aboriginal Territorians under the National Plan bus.
"Do not abandon us or expose our communities to a very real threat that we know will - literally - tear our communities apart," he said.
Responding to the comments, Mr Gunner said the NLC had inaccurately foreshadowed what he was going to announce.
"They put out a release in response to a rumor that around what I might announce today today and what I have announced today is a fairly significant mandatory vax policy," he said.
He said the comments from the NLC were "naive."
"We cannot be naive. We have got strong borders but the idea that the borders will remain strong forever is dangerous."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
- Bookmark katherinetimes.com.au
- Make sure you are signed up for our breaking and regular headlines newsletters
- Follow us on Twitter: @KatherineTimes
- Follow us on Instagram @katherinetimes
- Follow us on Google News
- Contact us at email@example.com
- You can also receive updates straight to your inbox each Friday at 6am from the Katherine Times. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, sign up here.
DO YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY?: Send letters to the editor or story tips to firstname.lastname@example.org