SYDNEY, AAP – Coles has opted not to follow Woolworths in requiring all employees be vaccinated against COVID-19, instead relying on health orders in some states.

Company leaders on Wednesday outlined how they are encouraging staff to be vaccinated but stopped short of enforcing it.

More than 70 per cent of Coles employees in the most COVID-affected states of NSW and Victoria are fully vaccinated. More than 94 per cent have had one shot.

The Northern Territory, Victoria and Western Australia have required essential workers have the jab. NSW has required this in some areas.

Coles chief executive Steven Cain told an annual general meeting these orders had been highly successful in increasing vaccination rates.

The company has helped employees be vaccinated at distribution centres and manufacturing sites. It has also provided paid leave for staff needing time off work to be vaccinated.

Last month, Woolworths flagged it will soon require Australian employees to be vaccinated unless they have a medical or religious exemption.

Supermarkets have been among the hotspots for people spreading the virus during the pandemic.

Coles improved full-year profit by 7.5 per cent to $1.01 billion for its financial year to June 27.

Shareholders received a fully-franked final dividend of 28 cents per share, better than the 27.5 cents paid a year earlier.

Shares in the retailer on the ASX were down 0.28 per cent to $17.63 at 1142 AEDT.