Australia’s biggest banks are offering vaccinations at work in Sydney’s Covid hotspots so staff can keep branches open
- Commonwealth Bank and Westpac offering Covid jabs for Sydney branch staff
- Free vaccines being offered to those working in eight affected council areas
- The federal government is also planning to turn shopping malls into jab hubs
Australia’s biggest banks are offering free Covid vaccinations for their staff in Sydney’s Covid hotspots.
Both the Commonwealth Bank and Westpac are this month offering AstraZeneca jabs to staff members who have to attend a branch in one of eight local government areas hardest hit by this virus outbreak.
On Wednesday, New South Wales recorded 233 new community-transmitted cases of the more contagious Delta variant, with Sydney’s south-west and west being the epicentre of the outbreak.
The area also has the state’s lowest Covid vaccination rate with just 14.6 per cent of residents aged 16 and over fully vaccinated in these outer suburbs.
Australia’s biggest banks are offering free Covid vaccinations for their staff in Sydney’s Covid hotspots. Both the Commonwealth Bank and Westpac are this month offering AstraZeneca jabs if they have to attend a branch in one of eight local government areas (pictured is a Westpac branch at Cabramatta in Sydney’s south-west)
Commonwealth Bank chief executive Matt Comyn said that from Monday, staff in Sydney’s worst-affected areas would be offered a free Covid jab on a voluntary basis.
‘As one of the country’s largest employers, we fully support all of the efforts being made to vaccinate Australians,’ he said.
‘We are going to start offering the vaccine to our people in customer-facing roles in the impacted Sydney LGAs from Monday.’
His Westpac counterpart Peter King said the bank’s 10,000 employees in those eight council areas would be able to book online this month for a vaccination.
‘We know that a vaccinated population is how we will have more freedom, open borders and a more normal way of life,’ he said.
‘We are committed to doing what we can to get more people jabbed and the vaccination rates at the levels they need to be for lockdowns to lift.
On Wednesday, New South Wales recorded 233 new community-transmitted cases of the more contagious Delta variant, with Sydney’s south-west the epicentre of the outbreak. The area also has the state’s lowest Covid vaccination rate with just 14.6 per cent of residents aged 16 and over fully vaccinated in these outer suburbs (pictured is a woman shopping at Cabramatta)
‘With around 10,000 Westpac employees living in the eight most impacted Sydney LGAs, it is a heartland area for our organisation.’
While non-essential retail shops are now closed across Sydney, banks are allowed to operate during the Covid lockdown which will not be lifted until August 28 at the earliest.
In a bid to boost Australia’s low Covid vaccination rate, the federal government is setting up drive-through vaccination clinics in shopping centres and schools.
Under the immunisation blitz, participating pharmacies will stay open long into the night and on weekends to offer the life-saving shots to the public, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison aiming for an 80 per cent vaccination rate to end lockdowns.
Commonwealth Bank chief executive Matt Comyn said that from Monday, staff in Sydney’s worst-affected areas (pictured is Cabramatta’s main mall) would be offered a free Covid jab on a voluntary basis
Nationally, just 19.7 per cent of Australians aged 16 and over are fully-vaccinated but in Sydney’s south-west, covering the Liverpool and Fairfield council areas, that stands at 14.6 per cent.
By comparison, 26.9 per cent of people on the affluent North Shore have had two doses of either AstraZeneca or Pfizer.
Mr Morrison on Tuesday said an 80 per cent vaccination rate would make lockdowns ‘almost completely unnecessary’ and allow the nation to treat Covid like the flu.
‘There will always be infectious diseases resulting in hospitalisation, and indeed in death,’ he said.
‘That is something that happens, sadly, each and every day, that is the world we live in, and I think Australians understand that.’
Government modelling by the Doherty Institute said that a 70 per cent vaccination rate could be achieved by October 18 if AstraZeneca doses are given four weeks apart, and 80 per cent could even be vaccinated by November 8.
If doses are given 12 weeks apart then the latest date an 80 per cent rate is predicted to be reached is November 22.
What are the four phases of opening up?
A. Vaccinate, prepare and pilot (from July 14)
Arrival caps cut in half to 3,035 a week; early, stringent and short lockdowns if outbreaks occur; trials of seven-day home quarantine for vaccinated arrivals in South Australia; medicare vaccination certificates available on apps like apple wallet
B. Post vaccination phase (when 70 per cent are jabbed, expected late this year)
Lockdowns less likely but possible’; vaccinated people face reduced restrictions; caps for unvaccinated arrivals increased; a larger cap for vaccinated arrivals with ‘reduced quarantine requirements’; capped entry for students and economic visa holders
C. Consolidation phase (when 80 per cent are jabbed, time not announced)
Lifting all restrictions for outbound travel for vaccinated travellers; no caps for vaccinated arrivals; increased caps for students and visa holders; more travel bubbles being set up with countries such as Singapore; booster shots rolled out
D. Final phase (percentage or time not announced)
Uncapped arrivals for vaccinated people without any quarantine and uncapped arrivals for unvaccinated people with testing before departure and on arrival