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Australia supermarket giants require COVID-19 vaccination for employees

Woolworths, Aldi say new requirement aims to protect their employees from deadly disease

Islam Uddin   | 21.10.2021
Australia supermarket giants require COVID-19 vaccination for employees File Photo


Supermarket giants Woolworths and Aldi in Australia on Thursday announced mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for their employees across the country.

In a statement, Woolworths Group said they are going to introduce a new requirement for Australian team members to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the coming months.

“We have a clear obligation to provide our team members with the safest possible work environment as we supply the food and essential needs our communities rely on," Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said.

“We have 170,000 team members across our stores, distribution centres and support offices, and more than 1,200 retail stores. With each store welcoming an average 20,000 customers a week, a single team member can come into contact with quite literally thousands of people in the course of a normal working week," he added.

“After careful review of the best medical advice, we’ve made the decision to require all of our team members in Australia to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19."

The company asked its employees in Victoria, New South Wales, Northern Territory, and Australian Capital Territory to get vaccines by Jan. 31, 2022 while employees in other states need to be vaccinated by March 31, 2022.

Woolworths Group Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rob McCartney added: “The medical evidence is clear - vaccination is the best protection against COVID-19 for our team members. A vaccinated team member is far less likely to get COVID, much less likely to pass it on, and also significantly less likely to become seriously ill."

Meanwhile, ALDI Australia said the company is in consultation with its employees to introduce safety plans that will require COVID-19 vaccinations among the eligibility criteria for employment.

"We know, with very few exceptions, every Australian should get vaccinated. The health advice is clear: vaccinated employees are less likely to contract COVID-19 than unvaccinated employees, and vaccinated employees are also less likely to pass COVID-19 on to colleagues or customers," said the company in a statement.

"With these factors in mind, our view is that requiring all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the future is the best measure to ensure the health and safety of our teams and our customers," the company explained.

On Wednesday, Australia announced that the country hit its target of full COVID-19 vaccination for 70% of its population aged 16 and over, a milestone set by the government for its plan to reopen the country.

Announcing the achievement of the target, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: "We did it!"

"70% of Australians aged 16+ are now fully vaccinated against COVID. Thank you, Australia," Morrison said.

Australia has been one of the countries in the world with the tightest border controls, even prohibiting its own citizens from leaving the country.

Recently, the highly contagious Delta variant has spread in some Australian states, including New South Wales and Victoria, bringing strict restrictions to those regions.

​​​​​​​Over the past 24 hours, Australia reported 2,643 new infections, bringing the caseload to 151,752, while 1,592 people have so far died from the deadly disease, according to ABC News.

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