The ASU supports vaccination as the way we can get out of the pandemic and get members back to work and encourages all members to be vaccinated if there is no medical contraindication.
If you can get vaccinated against COVID-19, you should get vaccinated. Vaccines are safe and effective. They are the best way for you to protect yourself, your family and your colleagues against COVID-19. High vaccination rates are the quickest way to get borders open and airline workers back to work.
You can book your vaccination through the Australian Government Department of Health Vaccine Eligibility Checker online here (including GP appointments) or through a State run Vaccination Hub online here or on 1800 675 398.
How effective is the vaccine?
Vaccines approved for use in Australia are safe and are highly effective at protecting you from the COVID-19 virus.
In clinical trials COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to provide excellent protection from getting sick with COVID-19. In these trials, people who were fully vaccinated were found to be 70-95% less likely to get sick with Covid-19 compared to people who are not vaccinated, if they are exposed to the virus.
If you have any questions about COVID-19 vaccines please speak with your GP or pharmacist, or visit the Australian Department of Health COVID-19 vaccines website.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning on becoming pregnant and have any questions about the vaccines, please speak with your GP or read the latest advice from the Australian Department of Health or The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG).
Industrial Rights and Obligations
The ASU believes that decisions about who needs a vaccine to do their job should be made by public health experts and not individual employers. However, that doesn’t make it illegal for some employers to require their employees to be vaccinated – this is a complex area of law, and depends on many factors, including the kind of work you do, your risk of being exposed to COVID-19, the people you come in to contact with, and what alternatives are available.
If a worker is dismissed for refusing or being unable to be vaccinated, contrary to a legal requirement or direction of their employer, then as is the case with any termination, an assessment would need to be made as to whether there is a sound basis to proceed with, for example, an unfair dismissal application.
Any application for unfair dismissal would need to be assessed against the legislative criteria established in the Fair Work Act 2009 to determine if a dismissal was harsh, unjust, or unreasonable. This will turn on the facts of the individual case, actions by the employer and worker during the process, as well as what precedents may exist from previous decisions of the Fair Work Commission (FWC).
When assessing an individual’s workplace rights, along with what remedies may exist if trouble is encountered, it will inevitably turn on the specific circumstances, facts, and laws that apply to the dispute or workplace situation.
There have been two recent decisions by the FWC regarding dismissals related to refusal of mandatory vaccinations, one in the childcare sector and one in aged care. In both cases the FWC considered that it was a valid reason for the employers to dismiss the workers for refusing to have an influenza vaccination.
If you don’t comply you could be subject to disciplinary action, which may mean your employment is terminated. The ASU will provide members advice that is appropriate to their circumstances.
Additional COVID-19 Vaccine Resources