Vaccinations and work

Some workers must be fully vaccinated to go to work. Find more information on who needs to be vaccinated.

Latest update — 5 April 2022

Some vaccine mandates for workers have been removed.

Government vaccine mandates will now only apply to workplaces that support vulnerable populations, or who work in high-risk environments where spread would be rapid or exposure to new variants is high. These workplaces will need to continue to require their workers to be vaccinated and boosted.

Who must be vaccinated

Workers that are still covered by a government vaccine mandate include: 

  • Health and disability sector workers — including aged care workers 
  • Prison staff 
  • Border and MIQ workers 

Certain roles within the following workforces may also be captured by government vaccine mandates, if they are working in an environment where a mandate is required — for example, alongside paramedics or other health workers.

  • NZ Police 
  • NZ Defence Force 
  • Fire and Emergency New Zealand. 

Workers covered by a government vaccine mandate are required to be vaccinated because they come into close contact with people who are likely to get seriously ill if they get COVID-19. Border workers, including those at MIQ, airports and maritime ports must be vaccinated because they are likely to be exposed to new variants. 

Booster doses

COVID-19 booster vaccinations are also mandated for workforces covered by the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021 (Vaccinations Order).  

This means workers in these sectors must get a booster 6 months (183 days) after they complete their primary vaccination course. If eligible, we recommend you get your booster after 3 months.  

You must be 18 years or older to receive a booster dose. If you are under 18 years old and have had your primary vaccination course, you can continue to work.    

Which vaccines you can get

8 vaccines commonly administered overseas are recognised for workers who fall under a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination order. 

The recognised vaccines are: 

  • Pfizer/BioNTech 
  • AstraZeneca (Oxford) 
  • AstraZeneca/Covishield (Serum Institute of India) 
  • Moderna 
  • Sinopharm 
  • Sinovac (CoronaVac) 
  • Covaxin (Bharat Biotech) 
  • Novavax (Nuvaxovid, NVX-CoC2373) 
  • Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) — only 1 dose is required for this vaccine.  

For all other vaccines, the primary course of vaccination means 2 doses. If you have had 1 dose of any of the other vaccines, you will need to have a second dose. You are able to get a Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine as your second dose. 

Novavax is only approved as a primary course of vaccination and not as a booster dose. However, the Novavax vaccine is available as a booster on prescription from an approved health professional. 

Exemptions and exceptions

Workers may be able to get an exemption from being vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Depending on the type of work done, there are different exemption grounds that may apply. For example, for an exemption on medical grounds, workers will need to apply to the Ministry of Health. 

Exemptions for border and MIQ workers | transport.govt.nz (external link) 

Medical exemptions for workers who have recently recovered from COVID-19 | health.govt.nz (external link) 

Exemptions for the border, health and prison workers | health.govt.nz (external link) 

If your business is not covered by the Vaccinations Order

If your employees are not covered by the vaccine mandate, you can choose if you want to require your employees to be fully vaccinated as a condition of their employment.  

Employers must carry out a health and safety risk assessment and consider all other public health measures they can use to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in their workplace. 

Vaccinations can only be used as a measure if the risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19 at work is higher than it is in the community. 

Before you decide if vaccination requirements are appropriate for your workplace, we encourage you to read the guidance on Employment New Zealand and WorkSafe New Zealand for advice. 

COVID-19 controls at work – employer vaccination requirements | worksafe.govt.nz (external link) 

Vaccines and the workplace | employment.govt.nz (external link) 

Book your vaccination

Find out where and how to get your COVID-19 vaccination and booster dose. 

How to get a COVID-19 vaccination

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