Unvaccinated NT workers face $5000 fines

Aaron BunchAAP
Michael Gunner has been warned of low vaccination rates in some NT Aboriginal communities.
Camera IconMichael Gunner has been warned of low vaccination rates in some NT Aboriginal communities. Credit: AAP

Tens of thousands of Northern Territory workers could be fined or blocked from their workplaces unless they get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The new health directive makes it mandatory for most workers who interact with the public to have their first jab by November 12.

Second doses will need to be complete by December 24, Chief Minister Michael Gunner says.

If they're not, workers won't be permitted to go to their workplace and could be fined $5000 for failing to comply with a mandated health directive.

Employees who must be vaccinated under NT law include those who come into contact with people at risk of severe illness from the virus, such as Aboriginal Territorians.

Mr Gunner says that's almost every worker in the NT.

"If your job includes interacting with members of the public, then you need to get the jab,' he told reporters on Wednesday.

"If you work in retail or in a supermarket, you need to get the jab.

"This is a very broad principled-based vaccination policy based on health advice. Most people in the NT ... are one degree away from a vulnerable person."

It also includes hospitality workers, barbers, hairdressers, beauty therapists, receptionists and bank staff.

"All of these workers and many, many more directly interact with members of the public and that means you must be vaccinated," Mr Gunner said

It also includes essential infrastructure, security, transport and logistics workers.

"Everything we've done has been through the legal team that Health has, the solicitor general's team, and the attorney-general" Mr Gunner said.

"We worked on this in great detail to make sure it is consistent with how we're allowed to do the chief health officer's directions".

The new rules also allow employers to demand proof of vaccination from staff and to keep information on those who have had the jab.

The directive also acknowledges a booster vaccine will be required in 2022.

Some exemptions will be permissible.

"But these are extremely narrow and must be backed up with medical evidence," Mr Gunner said.

"Simply not wanting the vaccine is not a reason."

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails