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Vaccine mandate for Tas public workers

Tas vaccine mandate
Tasmania posted 466 new COVID-19 cases but premier Peter Gutwein says most have only mild symptoms. Photo: AAP
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Tasmania is making coronavirus vaccinations mandatory for almost all public sector workers in line with the state’s looming border reopening.

Premier Peter Gutwein announced the measure would be implemented from December 15, when Tasmania will open to all fully vaccinated travellers.

Staff in the state’s treasury and finance department who do not interact with the public are among a few exemptions.

Those who do not comply could be sacked, with the mandate expected to also extend to public sector contractors and volunteers.

Mr Gutwein said more than 97 per cent of public service staff were already vaccinated.

“The number of people we’ll be working with will be in the hundreds not the thousands in terms of those that aren’t vaccinated,” he told reporters on Thursday.

“But I do want to be really clear about this, non-compliance could lead to termination.”

Tasmania has been essentially free of community COVID-19 transmission since a deadly outbreak in the northwest in April last year.

The island state is closed to New South Wales and Victoria, its two biggest tourism markets, as well as the ACT and hotspots in other jurisdictions.

Those arriving from high-risk areas will be allowed in from December 15, provided they are fully vaccinated and have returned a negative test in the 72 hours before travel.

Almost 88 per cent of Tasmanians aged 12 and over are fully vaccinated, Mr Gutwein said.

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation recently raised concerns about staffing levels ahead of expected virus cases.

“When we reopen next week, we’ll have one of the highest vaccination rates in the country. I’m very confident that we are prepared and ready for this,” Mr Gutwein said.

Tasmania has removed a 10,000 crowd cap at stadiums as it pushes its case to host the fifth Ashes Test in mid-January.

– AAP