22/09/2021 - 10:00

Shot in the arm for at-risk port workers

22/09/2021 - 10:00

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Mandatory jabs will be expanded to port workers as of next month as extra doses of the Moderna shot are set to boost WA's flagging vaccine rollout.

Rita Saffioti says vaccinating at-risk port workers is vital to keeping the state's ports open. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Mandatory jabs will be expanded to port workers as of next month as extra doses of the Moderna shot are set to boost Western Australia's flagging vaccine rollout.

Cargo vessels have proven a headache for the state government since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a cargo ship that had docked in Thailand and later berthed at Fremantle Port carrying 20 of 22 crew members infected with the virus.

Now, those who access exposed vessels will be subject to new directions, with all at-risk workers requiring at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of October 15.

Vaccines will be available to workers via a pop-up clinic to open at Fremantle Ports at the end of the month, with workers who access unexposed ships not requiring vaccination under the new directions.

“We all know the risk posed by COVID-19 and it is logical we would try to protect anyone on the frontline,” Ports Minister Rita Saffioti said.

“This will keep them safe, their families and communities safe, and our ports operating.”

Today’s news comes at the same time as community pharmacies across the state are set to offer Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine as of this week.

That follows the state government’s announcement earlier this month that all Australians aged 12 and above were eligible to be vaccinated either through their GP or at a state-run vaccination clinic.

Health Minister Roger Cook today said making it convenient for people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 was vitally important in helping boost WA’s vaccination rate.

“Anyone who is eligible now should get a COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves, their family, friends and the community,” he said.

More than 2.2 million vaccinations have now been administered in WA, with 61 per cent of eligible people having received at least one dose and 42 per cent having been fully vaccinated.

That means WA has the lowest vaccination rate of any of the eight states or territories, closely following Queensland, where just 62 per cent of eligible residents have received at least one dose and 43 per cent are fully vaccinated.

ACT, NSW and Victoria, which are experiencing ongoing community transmission of the virus, are currently leading the vaccination race, with all three jurisdictions having delivered at least one dose of the vaccine to more than 70 per cent of their eligible population.

There are five active cases in WA as of Tuesday, all in hotel quarantine.

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