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Commonwealth Bank, Westpac to start rolling out vaccines

·2-min read
The exterior of a Westpac branch and CBA branch and hands preparing a dose of vaccine.
The big banks are set to start rolling out doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to workers (Source: Getty)

Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA) and Westpac (ASX: WBC) will begin a pilot program to offer the AstraZeneca vaccine for their workers.

The announcement follows a deal between the two banks and the Federal Government’s vaccine task force leader Lieutenant General Frewen, The Australian has reported.

The banks plan to provide the vaccine for around 12,000 staff and their families in a number of local government areas (LGAs) that have been deemed COVID-19 hot spots.

“I am very pleased the banks are taking on this task of doing it with AstraZeneca so they can learn all they need to learn,” General Frewen said.

Westpac CEO Peter King said the bank was pleased to be working with the Government to establish the pilot program.

“It enables employees simpler and easier access to the AZ vaccine, if they choose this option,” King said.

Commonwealth Bank CEO Matt Comyn said the bank is going to start offering the vaccine to staff in customer-facing roles in the eight Sydney LGAs from next Monday.

“As one of the country’s largest employers, we fully support all of the efforts being made to vaccinate Australians,” Comyn said.

“The national rollout program offers a clear pathway out of the lockdowns while helping the country’s recovery from the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19 more quickly.”

Australia’s vaccine rollout

Australia has had one of the slowest vaccine rollouts in the industrialised world due to a lack of access to the Pfizer vaccine and confusion surrounding the safety of AstraZeneca.

As the vaccine rollout continues along slowly, economists have expressed fears of Australia entering a second recession.

The country will technically enter recession after two consecutive months of negative growth, and Frydenberg has already flagged Australia’s GDP growth will be in the red for the July-September quarter.

Frydenberg said last month that the most recent lockdowns affecting Sydney, Melbourne and South Australia will “have a hit on the economy”.

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