WA to enforce virus jabs for most workers

Michael RamseyAAP
Premier Mark McGowan has announced COVID-19 vaccinations will be mandated for most of WA's workers.
Camera IconPremier Mark McGowan has announced COVID-19 vaccinations will be mandated for most of WA's workers. Credit: AAP

COVID-19 vaccinations will become compulsory for most West Australian workers, including teachers and supermarket staff, by the end of the year.

Premier Mark McGowan says the drastic step is necessary to prepare the state for community transmission of the virus.

It will be rolled out across three groups representing 75 per cent of the WA workforce.

"It is proportionate and reasonable, and is aimed at preparing Western Australia safely for the inevitable community transmission," Mr McGowan told reporters on Wednesday.

The first group includes port, transport and freight workers, health and aged care staff, police and fly-in, fly-out mining workers.

Community workers, fire and emergency services employees, abattoir and meat processing workers and prison staff are also on the list. They must receive their first dose by December 1 and be fully vaccinated by December 31.

The second group includes staff at supermarkets, groceries, restaurants, pubs and cafes, as well as childcare, public transport and construction workers. They must get their first dose by year's end and second by January 31.

All teachers and school staff must be fully vaccinated by the start of term one.

The government has also outlined a third group of workers who must be fully vaccinated in order to attend work in the event of a lockdown. They include government employees, members of parliament and other retail workers.

Industry roundtables will be held ahead of the policy being implemented to ensure businesses and workers are prepared.

WA is on track to have more than 60 per cent of people aged 12 and over fully vaccinated in coming days, but still trails other states and territories.

Mr McGowan said the rate continued to climb but warned "people should not wait until the eleventh hour".

"The time is now," he said.

"I want to make it abundantly clear that everyone who is eligible should get the COVID-19 vaccine now as we all need to be prepared for the event of community transmission or a lockdown.

"Don't wait for the deadly Delta variant to enter before you consider getting the vaccine. Get the COVID-19 vaccine now."

It comes after the premier dashed any hopes WA would reopen for Christmas, saying he didn't want to impose restrictions such as mask-wearing on the festive season.

Queensland has outlined plans to scrap quarantine for fully vaccinated domestic travellers by December 17.

Mr McGowan has declined to follow suit, saying WA is on track to reach 80 per cent vaccination in December at which point further certainty will be provided.

It means WA's border will almost certainly remain shut to NSW, Victoria and the ACT for the rest of the year.

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