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Government sitting on its hands rolling out early vaccination of tradespeople

Master Plumbers is frustrated over the Government’s lack of action in getting tradespeople vaccinated, despite a change of policy which puts these workers on the priority list.

The Government recently expanded the list of essential workers eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination without having to wait until September 1 to book. The new list includes tradespeople, such as plumbers, who will be going into people’s homes to carry out work.

However Master Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers CE Greg Wallace says despite the announcement there has been no meaningful change to get the vaccinations for this group underway.

"On one hand it is pleasing that the Government has listened but unless the rollout starts then the change is completely meaningless.

"Here we are coming up to September 1 and we are still waiting to find out how our members can get early access to the vaccine. We have had a number of discussions with officials to try and get the ball rolling and the lack of momentum on this is extremely frustrating."

He says Master Plumbers has been advocating for this change for some time as tradespeople do carry out essential work for vulnerable communities during level 4. With most of the country about to move into level 3, the level of work will increase further, with the sector able to operate under strict safety protocols.

"Our plumbers, drainlayers and gasfitters can go into people’s homes to carry out work and it is vital they are kept as safe as possible. Vaccinating essential workers not only keeps the workers safe it is also helps protect the wider community.

"We know COVID-19 can be present in wastewater and early on the Government recognised that this made plumbers, in particular, vulnerable. With this in mind, it really does beg the question why there hasn’t been a sense of urgency to get our plumbing workforce vaccinated?"

Greg Wallace says with the switch to level 3 it is timely to remind people that if they are wanting a tradesperson to carry out work there are strict protocols to follow.

"It is important that the work being carried out is contactless so if it is a small job that won’t take long the homeowner could think about going for a walk during that time. If that isn’t possible then they must remain in a different part of the house while the work is being carried out."

He says those carrying out the work are well aware of their responsibilities and the need to do the work in a safe manner. Master Plumbers has also run training sessions for its members outlining how to operate safely and in line with regulations.

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