— Health

Bunnings, Officeworks offer to host COVID-19 vaccine hubs as big business push to join rollout

Australia’s corporate leaders have offered to support the COVID-19 vaccine rollout to encourage more people to get the jab.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg met with corporate leaders from Coles, Commonwealth Bank, Telstra, Wesfarmers, Virgin, and Qantas virtually on Wednesday to discuss a plan to boost vaccination numbers.

The meeting saw Wesfarmers, the owner of Bunnings and Officeworks, offer its sites as possible destinations for mass vaccination hubs, with other businesses also on board.

Possible vaccine incentives were also raised, with airlines flagging the potential of offering frequent flyer points to people who receive their jabs.

In the United States, businesses and states have already offered bonuses such as free beer, lotteries, and even marijuana to increase vaccine uptake.

Mr. Frydenberg said businesses had indicated their support for similar incentive measures.

COVID-19 vaccine

“I mean, airlines, free frequent flyer points, and other benefits, for example. I think it is more than a snag at Bunnings that we are talking about as our potential opportunity for incentives,” he told reporters.

“If you look abroad, and America is a good example, they have been actively engaging the business community in the rollout.”

Qantas has already announced it would offer free frequent flyer points to those who have had a vaccine and intends to provide ten free travel and accommodation prizes for a year.

Other ideas flagged in the meeting include the possibility for staff to be vaccinated in the workplace.

At the meeting, companies agreed to write to workers stressing the importance of vaccination.

Mr. Frydenberg has indicated expanding businesses involved in the rollout will depend on increasing Pfizer supplies, which are expected to be bolstered from September to October.

“As more supply comes on board, businesses can play a greater role,” he said.

But Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers has described the business round table as an “elaborate blame shifting” exercise designed to distract from the pace of the vaccine rollout.

“The problem wasn’t a lack of business input. The problem is a lack of vaccines, quarantine, and leadership,” he told reporters.

“No amount of state photo opportunities with CEOs or generals can make up for the debacle he has made of this vaccine rollout.”

Mr. Frydenberg rejected suggestions the government had dragged its feet on involving big business in the vaccine rollout.

“It has been subject to getting more supply online,” he said. “We are rolling out the vaccine as fast as we can.”

WATCH: Overcoming vaccine hesitancy in CALD communities

Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said businesses that already offer staff flu jabs could expand their services to coronavirus vaccines.

“We believe business can play a huge role in supercharging the vaccine when the supply arrives,” she said.

“Let’s use the resources of corporate Australia and institutions like universities, which are very big institutions, to get this done as fast as we can.”

Australian Industry Group boss Innes Willox said airports, shopping centers, industrial parks, clubs, and pubs were vaccination site options.

But he wants legal business protections, similar to indemnities offered to doctors and pharmaceutical companies.

“Workers’ compensation does not provide appropriate or affordable protections for businesses against adverse vaccine reactions,” Mr Willox said.

With AAP

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button