Restrictions have been part of our daily lives for far longer than I think any of us ever expected. It can be tough to feel that we’re not in control of the situation as individuals, but Australians have shown time and time again that we are capable of great things when we unite.

We need urgent action to get COVID under control, and that involves all of us coming together to get vaccinated. Doing this will make an incredible difference – it will help to protect each other, lessen the financial hardship on families, and reduce the toll on our wellbeing caused by the uncertainty and isolation from rolling lockdowns.

As a company, we can play a bigger role to encourage others to get the vaccine, and make that jab in the arm even more worthwhile.

To help out, we will be rewarding those who roll up their sleeves, and encouraging everyone to get vaccinated for the good of the nation.

Rewards for the vaccinated

If you have had your jab, we will also be giving your Telstra Plus points balance a shot in the arm.

From late September, fully vaccinated members of our Telstra Plus loyalty program will receive a bonus of 2,500 Telstra Plus points.

When claiming their points, fully jabbed members will also go into a 100 million point major prize draw, with 20 winners to receive five million Telstra Plus points each, as well as up to $3500 credit to help cover the cost of their eligible Telstra services for a year.

If you are not yet a member of Telstra Plus, you can join and access the 2,500 Telstra Plus point bonus before the end of January next year. Eligibility criteria apply.

For those who are already vaccinated, these offers are a thank you from us. For those who are yet to, we want to make that jab even more rewarding.

Keeping you going in lockdown

To help ease the burden and boredom of lockdowns, all our Telstra Plus members, regardless of their vaccination status, can soon claim a digital care package that includes a Telstra TV Box Office movie on us, discounts on a food delivery service and access to discounts in the Telstra Plus Rewards store.

This builds on the success we have had with our employee incentive program, with those who get fully vaccinated receiving the equivalent of $200 that can be redeemed through our employee rewards program. More than 5,500 people took up this offer in the first week alone.

Communicating loud and clear

We want every eligible Australian to remember to get vaccinated as soon as they can. That’s why, from today, when you look in the top corner of your iPhone where it used to say Telstra, it will now read Telstra #LetsVaxx. This message may take a little while to appear on your phone, but you can speed up the process by turning Airplane mode on and off.

And it’s not the first time we have changed our name during the pandemic. In March last year, we changed the network name to Telstra #StayHome. As the nation moved in and out of lockdown, and health guidance changed, we updated it to Telstra #StaySafe.

You are also going to see a new episode in our 5G Chief Investigator series, from our friend, Mark Humphries.

Mark’s sharp satire successfully busted conspiracy theories around 5G and now we are calling on him to help cut through the noise and debunk some of the COVID vaccination myths.

We know some of our customers may not choose to or be able to get vaccinated, but the results of our employee offer have shown there’s a groundswell of support and understanding that increasing the vaccination rate is our best way forward – and we feel it’s important to spread that message.

The endgame – creating a sense of hope

There’s no doubt that lockdowns have meant people are relying on our services more than ever before but we all know there’s nothing like coming together as a family to celebrate a birthday or catching up with friends in person.

To make sure we can do this, I believe all leaders can play a role by uniting behind an aligned approach to a pathway out. One that moves us beyond the problems preventing us from opening up, and instead focuses on the solutions.

We absolutely need a sense of hope right now and some light at the end of what has been a long, dark tunnel.