According to a new survey, one in two transport workers in Australia haven’t been vaccinated against Covid.
Over 1200 truckies, bus drivers, couriers, distribution workers and rideshare drivers took part in the survey, conducted by the Transport Workers Union (TWU). It found that of those surveyed, 14 per cent were fully vaccinated and 32 per cent had received one jab. Of these figures, only 2 per cent were assisted by their employer to get their vaccination. More than half of all survey respondents had not received their first vaccination.
Of the truck drivers that took part in the survey, almost two thirds were unvaccinated, with half of them working in Covid hot spots. It also found that 90 per cent of truckies who responded have not been offered paid vaccination leave by their employers, making organising a vaccination appointment even more difficult.
The problem the current situation is having on fatigue was also highlighted in the survey. Over half of interstate truck drivers reported difficulties finding open truck stops to rest, get a hot meal or have a shower. Around one third reported being told to self-isolate in their truck, while almost half said they’ve had to spend hours queueing for covid tests.
Confusing border pass information, testing requirements and exposure sites at truck and bus depots have also meant many transport workers have lost out on work.
“We’re constantly reminded the virus doesn’t move on its own, but transport workers are perhaps at the greatest risk of contracting and transmitting the virus. These workers should have been prioritised and support to get vaccinated from day one of the rollout,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.
“Transport workers are severely under the pump. They have met unprecedented demand over the last 18 months because they understand our communities rely on them. Wealthy retailers, manufactures and oil companies at the top of supply chains have raked in the profits by loading transport workers up with work, but have washed their hands of responsibility to ensure the workers they rely on can do their jobs safely.
“No worker should have to choose between putting food on the table and getting vaccinated. If we’re going to beat this virus, we need a national plan to prioritise essential transport workers and provide paid vaccination leave.”
Big Rigs has also put it to readers to see where they stand on getting vaccinated against Covid, through a poll we published on our Facebook page on Tuesday evening. Already, over 1100 readers have responded, with 43 per cent voting ‘Yes, I am getting the jab’ and 57 per cent voting ‘No thanks, not for me’.
Many readers also took to the comments section to share their opinions about getting vaccinated, or share their experiences after having the vaccine.
“I travelled in the 70s, I got stuck with every motherf**king thing known to man, smallpox, typhoid, cholera, diphtheria, to name a few, don’t tell me medtech in the 70s was/is better than 2021, I got 1st shot a week ago, mild sore arm and slight headache, a bit like tetanus, oh there’s another one, what about polio, mumps, and the 20 flu shots I’ve had, etc, etc,” wrote Mick Wilson.
While Niell Graham posed the question, “Those that are saying no why? I have had the jab I also had all the jabs when I was a kid, and I’m well today.”
Keith Morrell has also been vaccinated. He said, “There’s a worrying amount of misinformation going on in this thread. I’m all for freedom of choice but FK me, no wonder most of the population thinks you have to be stupid to work in this industry. We are Fking truck drivers, not epidemiologists. These are the same people who get pissed off when car drivers tell them how to drive a truck. You would think there’d be some level of comprehension here. But nope, these drivers know more than people who live and breathe viruses every day as we do trucks.”
And Ceiteach Seoige couldn’t understand the fuss, “Previous generations – go to war, your country needs you…this generation terrified of a needle…pussys!”
Others weren’t so keen on being vaccinated.
“You can always get vaccinated, but you can’t get unvaccinated,” wrote Kam Ronz.
While Sandy Joy commented, “NOT if I am forced to have the Astrazeneca shot. I want my choice not what I am told to have, Morriscum you are a failure time and time again.”