Health and disability, education and prison workers must be fully vaccinated - Hipkins

By Te Ao - Māori News

Most workers in the health and disability and education sectors or prisons will need to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 under a newly expanded vaccination order, says Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins.

Hipkins says the government has decided to expand the mandatory vaccination requirement to include the three key sectors.

“This is a significant development as our vaccination programme continues to roll out,” Hipkins said in a statement Saturday.

“Because of the nature of their work, these groups are all at particular risk of being infected with Covid-19, and of passing it on to the vulnerable groups they work with, as well as whānau, and members of the wider community.

“While most people in these sectors have already taken the necessary steps to protect themselves and those around them, having complete protection is critical to the country’s successful management of the pandemic.”

Workers in prisons will need to have their first doses by 6 November and health and disability workers and education workers by 15 November.

“It’s a comprehensive Order, and will require all health and disability workers and education workers to have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by 15 November 2021."

Health and Disability

“General practitioners, pharmacists, community health nurses, midwives, paramedics, and healthcare and disability workers in facilities where vulnerable patients are treated (including ICU), are amongst those included.

“It also covers many workers doing non-regulated healthcare work, for example providers in aged residential care and workers who enter homes to provide community support services," Hipkins said.

Education

”For those working in the education sector, the amendment applies to early childhood services as well as registered schools, including State schools, State integrated school and all private schools.

“Work is continuing on whether mandatory vaccinations will be required in the tertiary education sector," he said.

“The end result will be that both the health and disability workers and the education sector workers must be fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022."

Prisons

“Prison facilities are also included and the first deadline for those workers is 6 November. In that context, the order applies to prison staff, health care staff working in prisons, psychologists (working in prisons), and many of the people contracted to provide services to prisons."

Notes:

·       Workers who only sometimes work in school, prison or health and disability environments may also be subject to the Order, and should consult the Ministry of Health’s website.

·       Workers who have proof of having been vaccinated overseas with one of Medsafe’s four approved vaccines will qualify as having met the terms of the Order.

·       Border workers have been required by the Order to be vaccinated since 30 September.

Dates:

Dates by which workers in the different sectors will be required to be vaccinated by:

·       Health and Education:

First dose – 23.59 hrs 15 November 2021

Second dose - 23.59 hrs 1 January 2022.

·       Prisons:

First dose – 23.59 hrs 6 November 2021

Second dose – 23.59 hrs 8 December 2021