Peak body Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) is working with Sydney hygiene management firm BAMS to support the Covid vaccination of truckies and other freight staff at their workplaces in south west and western Sydney.
Under the new program, BAMS teams, in conjunction with medical technicians from a private medical firm, are visiting medium to large transport and freight companies, in a bus converted into a mobile clinic.
The health professionals are providing Astra Zeneca vaccinations to transport workers, whilst BAMS staff are providing operational and logistical support for the technicians and workers receiving their jabs.
RFNSW Chief Executive Officer Simon O’Hara welcomed the initiative, saying it would strengthen the roll-out of vaccinations across the state and also alleviate the risk of interstate truckies being refused vaccinations, as had occurred on a number of occasions over the past fortnight.
“Unfortunately, there’s still a lack of clarity around testing and vaccination procedures for our frontline transport workers. RFNSW has been getting complaints from some of our members, whose drivers have been turned-away from vaccination centres, after advising staff that they’d worked outside the area, given they were interstate truckies who needed to be tested every three days,” O’Hara said.
“One truckie was told to leave a clinic immediately as he was ‘putting others at risk’ and to self-quarantine for 14 days.
“He asked whether he could get the vax at all and they said no, not all until he had quarantined for 14 days. He explained he was an interstate truck driver and this just wasn’t possible and that he is always on the road. It’s unfair that truckies doing the right thing, are still being treated like this.
“RFNSW supports initiatives that allow the free movement of freight around the country as safely as possible and we’re encouraging our members to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated.
O’Hara said the association welcomes this new program by BAMS, supporting the vaccination of freight workers at their premises, under the care and direction of medical professionals, as well as other initiatives that some of our members are using, such as offering cash-incentives to drivers who get vaccinated.
BAMS CEO Brian Zammitt said his company had already been working with accredited virologists to provide mandatory Covid testing to a number of businesses on-site in south western Sydney and that the new mobile vaccination service will further support the vaccination roll-out in high-risk areas.
“BAMS is happy to be working with RFNSW and its members to ensure that truckies and other essential freight workers are best protected throughout the pandemic. We want to support the transport industry and the wider community,” he said.