ETU Statement on COVID-19 Vaccination

Since the start of the pandemic the ETU leadership have taken an approach that is informed by and consistent with the best public health and scientific advice. 

The ETU acknowledge the Australian Government’s policy of voluntary vaccination and believe this should be maintained when it comes to workplaces. 

The ETU believe that consistent with this approach it should be public health experts, and not individual employers, that determine where any mandatory vaccination policies should apply in relation to high-risk workplaces. Building and maintaining high public trust and confidence in vaccines should be central to these decisions.

Following consideration of all the medical, health and vaccine advice available, the ETU strongly encourages all members to participate in the COVID-19 Vaccination program where they are able to. 

Immunisation in Australia is a safe and practical public health program which protects people from many diseases, preventing the spread of disease throughout the population and within specific communities. Immunisation serves three specific purposes in relation to ETU members:

a) ETU members who are vaccinated are part of the general population and contribute to ‘herd immunity’ 
b) ETU members who are vaccinated assist in preventing the spread of disease in their workplaces and amongst friends and families
c) Vaccination provides a level of protection in relation to the health of ETU members who may be exposed to disease in the workplace, and therefore contributes to prevention of work-related disease.

COVID vaccinations in Australia have followed all the rigorous testing processes as applied by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Unlike other countries, Australia did not fast track or short cut any of its approval processes.

The government’s COVID-19 Vaccines National Rollout Strategy identifies priority groups for vaccination, including critical and high-risk workers. To find out if and when you are able to get a COVID-19 vaccine go to the Department of Health website Vaccine Eligibility Checker. 

Health agencies may also make public health directions that may require you to be vaccinated. We strongly encourage you to follow the public health directions in force in your state or territory and stay up-to-date with the advice of your health agency.   

The ETU recognises some members may be concerned about the vaccine. Any COVID-19 vaccine can only be used in Australia if the Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved it through its rigorous approvals process linked above. If you still have concerns about receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, we encourage you to talk to your treating medical practitioner. 

Please contact your local branch of the ETU if you have any further questions. 

The COVID 19 pandemic has had a massive impact on Australian workers and it is important that we do everything we can to eliminate the risks associated with the virus to the greatest extent possible.