Our education and health and disability workforces have done an incredible job throughout this pandemic to keep themselves and people safe.
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.
While most people working in these sectors are already fully or partially vaccinated, we cannot leave anything to chance and are making it mandatory.
It is not an easy decision, but we need the people who work with vulnerable communities who have not yet been vaccinated to take this extra step.
Vaccinations for children aged 5 to 11 are not yet approved and the health and disability sector includes a range of high-risk occupations.
People have a reasonable expectation that our workforces are taking all reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of disease, and government agencies have been working with them to ensure they are as protected as possible.
A high rate of vaccinations will help to protect staff from getting sick and passing COVID-19 onto loved ones. It will also reassure those who are anxious about their children attending school and early learning services.
Exemptions may be possible under some circumstances.
Workers at our MIQ and at airports and ports are already required to be vaccinated.
Health and Disability sector
An amendment will be made to the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021 that will require a new set of workers in the health and disability sector to be fully vaccinated by 1st December, 2021.
Vaccination is already mandatory for high-risk roles (including health worker roles) in Border, MIF and MIQ settings. This amendment seeks to extend that requirement so that certain roles in the health and disability sector are also covered by this order, including:
- Regulated professions currently registered under the HPCA regulations
- Non-regulated professions in the following healthcare setting:
- Aged Residential Care Facilities (ARC)
- Home and Community Care Services (HCSS)
- Kaupapa Māori Health Providers
- Pacific Health Providers
- Non-Government Organisations who provide health services
- Roles undertaken by people who:
- are in frequent contact, face-to-face contact, or are in close proximity to healthcare workers providing a health service
- work where a health service is being provided
- do not necessarily provide a health service, but their role requires frequent contact/engagement with those providing health services and is considered tied to a role within a healthcare setting.
Any health and disability workers who fall under the categories above must receive their first dose of the vaccine by 30 October and their second dose by 1 December 2021.
Further details about the criteria for this amended order will be released in due course.
From 1 January 2022, schools and early learning services and providers will need to maintain a register, and ensure only vaccinated staff and support people have contact with children and students. They need to have their first dose by 15 November.
This includes home-based educators, and all those support people in our schools and early learning services such as teacher-aides, administration and maintenance staff and contractors.
Secondary schools and kura will also be required to keep a COVID-19 vaccination register for students. Students that do not produce evidence of vaccination will be considered unvaccinated.
All school employees in Auckland and other Alert Level 3 regions will be required to return a negative COVID-19 test result before they can return to work onsite.
Those who are not fully vaccinated in the period leading up to 1 January 2022 will also be required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
Work is continuing on whether mandatory vaccinations will be required in the tertiary education sector.