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Woolies tells 170,000 staff to get second vaccine or lose work


Woolworths plans to order all of its 170,000 workers to get their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by early next year to reduce the risk of infection.

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The directive will apply to employees at about 1200 stores as well as distribution and online fulfilment centres and support offices.

“With each store welcoming an average 20,000 customers a week, a single team member can come into contact with quite literally thousands of people in the course of a normal working week,” CEO Brad Banducci said on Thursday.

“After careful review of the best medical advice, we’ve made the decision to require all of our team members in Australia to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.”

Workers must be fully vaccinated in the ACT, NSW, NT, Victoria and WA by January 31, and by March 31 in South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland.

But Woolworths also recognises some workers might have legitimate medical or religious reasons to be exempt.

It’s planning a series of workplace meetings before making a final decision on its double vaccination plan in November.

About a third of its Australian workforce is already subject to state-issued health orders requiring full or part vaccination in order to work.

However, Woolworths will not require customers to be fully vaccinated to buy food and other goods – which is in line with current state-based health orders.

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