Interstate truck drivers at Nitschke Chaff and Freight, Greenock are leading the way in being COVID compliant as they achieve 100 per cent first dose of the COVID vaccine.
Under new regulations, all truck drivers who are entering South Australia from Victoria, NSW or the ACT from October 7 must have evidence of at least one dose.
Logistics Manager at Nitschke Freight Services, Ms Erin Nitschke told The Leader she is neither for or against the new regulations.
“I sit on the fence, because we have taken it as a personal choice before the regulations were mandatory,” she said.
“I do think that they should have a choice, because now with the new laws truck drivers are basically being scrutinised.”
From Monday, other essential transport services must also produce evidence of having received one dose.
The new requirements follow after nine essential freight drivers have brought COVID-19 into South Australia in just over a month.
Despite the positive impact that this law would have on keeping COVID-19 out of South Australia, truck drivers have questioned the action as they believe the short time frame on receiving their first dose of the vaccination was difficult to achieve.
SA Chief Public Health Officer, Mrs Nicola Spurrier flagged the issue last month while advising the public that a truck driver from NSW tested positive travelling through SA on September 2-3.
On October 1, another truck driver, a man in his 30’s from Victoria tested positive to COVID, however was not vaccinated.
“SAPOL does a fantastic job at checking compliance of truck drivers but it’s simply impossible to be stopping every truck,” she added.
Truck drivers who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 are required to get the jab at Tailem Bend or Yamba’s designated clinics, as soon as possible.
After a grace period, unvaccinated truckies may be turned away at the border.
“Everything is becoming so much harder for them as they have to carry around permits,” Erin said.
“Each week my mum, Ally Nitschke who handles compliancy, creates a pass for each driver travelling between states.”
With seven to eight truck drivers from Nitschke freight services who travel to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, Erin said it’s crucial for their business to be safe in high exposure areas.
“There would be maybe one or two drivers who need their second dose, but most of them have had both,” she added.
“If they haven’t had their second yet they need to show proof of booking to go interstate.
Prior to laws becoming mandatory, Erin said they gave their employees the option to be vaccinated.
“They are the ones at the end of the day who are entering different states and travelling with large loads,” she said.
“All of our drivers have been great with the changes and are being compliant, allowing our business to keep operating safety.”
Despite the tough times, Erin said the business hasn’t been badly affected by the pandemic and is busier than ever.
“That’s one positive out of the whole thing,” Erin added.