Resources sector to support vaccine rollout

THE Minerals Council of Australia and the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association have released a joint position statement on Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine roll-out.
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Staff reporter

Australia's vaccination program kicked off on Sunday with prime minister Scott Morrison getting the jab.

The MCA and APPEA's position statement outlines how the resources sector will support the government's national vaccine roll-out strategy.

The statement centres around four positions: actively supporting the implementation; the development of a national process for providing confirmation of vaccination; the continued support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health plans; and the prioritisation of some resources workers for vaccinations.

"Australia's resources sector will continue to protect priority populations from COVID-19 while maintaining essential support as the government begins to implement its national vaccination program," MCA CEO Tania Constable said.

The sector has identified workforce sub-groups for priority vaccinations including:

  • Members of the workforce (not already prioritised in the government roll-out schedule) that can be at higher risk of severe illness due to COVID-19, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and contractors, people aged over 50, immune-compromised members and specialists travelling to sites in remote areas
  • Site-based medical or paramedical emergency services professionals
  • Workers who are in contact with priority populations and communities and who are also required to undertake domestic or international travel, including those engaged on fly-in fly-out arrangements
  • Workers supporting essential services delivery, such as workers maintaining electricity, water and other essential services, including those with statutory roles
  • Essential safety workers required for safe site operations and the ongoing ability to operate.

"Companies that may require vaccination for specific roles with a high risk of transmission should support access by employees to the vaccine," Constable said.

"Employees will be able to demonstrate vaccination (or medical exemption) through Express Plus Medicare and MyGov apps and each company should develop a confidential record management procedure for employees for secure provision and recording of this information."

The plan also highlights the potential for resource industry operations to serve as vaccination centres, particularly in remote areas of Australia where there are close links with priority populations and communities.