A Minister said on Monday that New Zealand has mandated Covid-19 vaccination for teachers and health workers, two workforces critical to preventing the virus’s spread.
High-risk workers in the health and disability sectors must be fully vaccinated by December 1 and receive their first dose by October 30, according to Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins.
According to Hipkins, all school and early learning staff and support personnel who have contact with children and students must be fully vaccinated by January 1, 2022, with the first dose administered by November 15, according to the Xinhua news agency.
“Vaccination remains our strongest and most effective tool to protect against infection and disease, and we need as many workers as possible to be vaccinated to allow sectors to respond to the pandemic and deliver everyday services with as little disruption as possible,” Hipkins said, adding most people working in these sectors have already fully or partially vaccinated.
It will reassure parents who are concerned about their children attending school or early learning services, he says, adding that exemptions may be possible in some cases.
According to the Minister, the Covid-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021 will be updated to require anyone performing high-risk work in the health and disability sectors to be fully vaccinated by December 1.
General practitioners, pharmacists, community health nurses, midwives, paramedics, and all healthcare workers in locations where vulnerable patients are treated are required to receive their first dose of the vaccine by October 30.
“Those who are not fully vaccinated in the period leading up to January 1, 2022, will also be required to undergo weekly Covid-19 testing,” he said, adding relevant work is continuing on whether mandatory vaccinations will be required in the tertiary education sector.