Western Australia has been the site of one of the country’s most extreme vaccine mandates. Rules implemented by Premier Mark McGowan see more than 75 percent of their workforce, which equates to more than a million residents, forced to get the vaccine by next month.
A survey by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCIWA) found that nearly four percent of employees are not willing to get the vaccine “under any circumstance.” This equates to around 55,000 workers, 39,000 of which are covered by the new mandates. This means that a considerable number of people will not be allowed to work in the state once the deadline passes. Meanwhile, a further 71,000 people, or 4.8 percent of the workforce there, are still deciding if they will get the jab, which could push the number of workers without jobs and the cost to the economy even higher.
One of the reasons many workers are avoiding the vaccine is concerns about health problems, with many Australians citing the risk of heart problems, blood clots and other serious long-term effects some people are experiencing from these vaccines as their main worry. In the CCIWA survey, 74 percent of respondents believed that providing people with “trustworthy” information that vaccines were safe would convince people to get the jab, while 66 percent thought financial incentives would provide the push they need; 49 percent felt that mandatory jabs for employment would solve the “problem” of vaccine hesitancy.
Right now, Western Australia has the lowest vaccination rate in a country full of extreme measures, with just over three fourths of the population aged 12 and above having received both doses.
Vaccine mandates are currently in place there for workers in health, police, ports, resources, interstate freight, fire and emergency services, elderly care, airports, hotel quarantine and other community services. Starting December 31, mandates will come into effect for people working in hospitality, supermarkets and other sectors.
A police spokesperson said that while 98 percent of their employees say they have been vaccinated, 49 employees have said that they have no intention of doing so and 150 have not disclosed their vaccination status.
An officer who represents a group of people who have lost their jobs or are facing terminations over the vaccine mandate told The Epoch Times that the rules were having a significant effect on officers' mental health as they faced the prospect of losing their lifelong career.
Former Western Australian police officer Jordan McDonald said: “It’s having a really big toll on the affected officers’ mental health. I’ve personally spoken to officers who are having breakdowns and who are on sick leave, and there has even been suicide attempts that are directly linked to the mandates.”
Since the beginning of October alone, tens of thousands of people in Western Australia have protested vaccine mandates in more than a dozen demonstrations. The state government, meanwhile, is the target of legal proceedings brought up by police officers challenging the mandates; the health care industry and other industries are expected to launch similar proceedings soon.
The situation is particularly frustrating because the efficacy of these mandates is in serious doubt. For example, one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, Ireland, recently had to put new restrictions in effect following a series of new infections among the vaccinated despite having a 93 percent vaccination rate. In contrast, Florida currently ties as the American state with the lowest number of daily COVID-19 cases per capita despite scrapping vaccine and mask mandates.
Sources for this article include: