COVID-19 Vaccines for Meat Processing Workers

wild game processingThe following information is being shared by Safe Food on behalf of Queensland Health. For questions relating to Phase 1b of the COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout, please contact Queensland Health directly.

If you are a registered business within the meat processing industry, some of your workforce may now be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine under Phase 1b of Australia’s national vaccine strategy.

Phase 1b includes critical and high risk workers in meat processing, where workers are directly involved in the manufacturing process and work in an environment where it is difficult to maintain physical distancing requirements.

Meat processing workers include:

  • Abattoir workers, including attending veterinarians
  • Workers in boning rooms
  • Smallgoods manufacturers
  • Seafood processing
  • Staff at the above facilities that have direct contact with process workers (e.g. maintenance staff, supervisors)

Phase 1b does not cover:

  • Retail workers including butcher shops, fishmongers
  • Primary production workers, including fishing
  • Clerical workers with no contact with process workers

Queensland’s vaccine strategy is guided by the COVID-19 Vaccine National Roll-Out Strategy and aims to protect the community and maintain a robust health system.

AstraZeneca vaccine not recommended for people under 50

The Australian Government recently announced that as a precaution they will not be recommending people under 50 receive the Astra Zeneca vaccine following confirmation of a “rare but serious risk” of blood clots. Wherever possible, under 50s will only get the Pfizer vaccine.

The decision by the Government to accept the advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) will have implications for the vaccine rollout program.

The Australian Government will work through these implications with the states and territories as an urgent priority.

Further advice on this decision can be found here.

Booking your vaccination

If you have a large workforce, it is recommended that you contact your local healthcare provider to discuss the feasibility of organising an onsite vaccination clinic at your premise. You can find your local healthcare provider by using the online vaccine eligibility checker. Alternatively, staff can use the eligibility checker to book a vaccination via their local GP. They will need to provide proof of occupation when they visit their GP (ID card or letter from their employer). They should also bring their Medicare card, if they have one.

Rural and remote communities

For some rural and remote communities, a whole-of-community vaccination approach may be taken instead of vaccinating only those who are eligible according to the phases outlined in the National vaccination roll-out strategy. Queensland Health will advise the communities that will have this opportunity.

Further information

More information about COVID-19 vaccines is available on the Queensland Health website and the Health Blog. Alternatively, you can call 134 COVID (134 26843).