NT hesitancy could see shortage
About one in six NT teachers does not intend to get vaccinated.
The Australian Education Union NT (AEU) has surveyed over 640 school staff across urban and remote areas of the Northern Territory.
The survey found that almost 70 percent of staff said they were fully vaccinated, but another 17 percent said they were not willing to be.
More than a third of respondents said they did not agree with mandatory vaccinations for school employees.
“Whilst that's a minority view, it is a significant proportion of members who aren't supportive of the mandate,” Jarvis Ryan from the Australian Education Union NT says.
The union is concerned that a vaccine mandate could negatively impact staffing levels.
“Our schools are quite stretched as it is,” Mr Ryan said.
“We have members who are adamant that they don't want to be vaccinated. We're going to have to work through what that's going to mean for their employment
“The result may well be we lose a lot of very capable employees.”
Yesterday, the NT government issued a mandate that workers in a broad range of settings must have their COVID-19 vaccine within a month - including people who work in high-risk settings and public-facing roles, and anyone likely to come into contact with a vulnerable person.
The mandate includes all workers in “essential” industries such as infrastructure, supply and logistics.
Those who do not comply will be barred from their workplaces and face a $5,000 fine.
Mr Ryan has wanted that teaching staff in remote communities may be disproportionately affected.
“We know that there's a very high rate of outright refusal or [vaccine] hesitancy in remote communities and the [Education] Department employs many hundreds of Aboriginal staff in remote communities,” he said.
“They're effectively going to be thrown on the employment scrap heap. That will be socially disastrous.”