Border worker vaccinations

Workers at the border and in managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) settings are now required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Find out who is affected and what they need to do.

How the requirements work

On 1 May 2021, it became mandatory for a narrow group of border workers and Government officials working at the border or an MIQ facility to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021 outlines these requirements.

On 14 July 2021, following an amendment to the Vaccinations Order, the rules for vaccination against COVID-19 was broadened to most border workers. Including airports and ports.

The Vaccinations Order is a legally binding health instruction which requires certain groups of border workers to be vaccinated to undertake ‘certain work’.

From 30 September, any newly employed workers need to have their first dose of COVID-19 vaccination before starting work in a role covered by the Vaccinations Order. They must have their second dose within 35 days of their start date.

Who must get vaccinated

All workers who are required to be tested for COVID-19 on either a 7-day or 14-day schedule will now also be required to get vaccinated before they perform that work.

The expanded Order applies to people working at:

  • managed isolation and quarantine facilities (MIQFs) and managed isolation facilities (MIFs)
  • airside area of affected airports and some other higher-risk work at airports
  • affected ports
  • accommodation services where specified aircrew members are self-isolating.

It also includes people doing work:

  • that involves handling affected items removed from ships, planes or MIQFs or MIFs, and
  • where the job is for a company that is routinely engaged to provide services for a plane, ship, MIQF or MIF, and
  • where the person ‘has contact with’ people who belong to different groups in the Order.

Use this tool to find out if a worker must get vaccinated

Recognised vaccines

Eight vaccines commonly administered overseas are recognised for border workers in New Zealand that need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The recognised vaccines are:

  • Pfizer/BioNTech
  • Janssen (Johnson and Johnson)
  • AstraZeneca (Oxford)
  • AstraZeneca/Covishield (Serum Institute of India)
  • Moderna
  • Sinopharm
  • Sinovac (CoronaVac)
  • Covaxin (Bharat Biotech).

If they have had the Janssen vaccination overseas, they are fully vaccinated with 1 dose.

If they have had 1 dose of any of the other vaccines, they will need to have a second dose within 35 days of starting work to be fully vaccinated. They can get a Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine as their second dose.

When affected workers must get vaccinated by

  • New workers must now have their first dose before starting work and their second within 35 days of their start date.
  • This applies to government and private business employees.

How to get a vaccination

You can book your COVID-19 vaccination online or over the phone, or by visiting a walk-in or drive-through vaccination centre.

How to get a vaccination

When your employer or PCBU enters your details in the Border Workforce Testing Register (BWTR) the BWTR will send your details to your local district health board (DHB). They will then contact you about booking your vaccination appointments.
DHBs will prioritise bookings for affected workers who are not yet vaccinated.

If you need help


Why border workers must get vaccinated

To prevent the virus coming into our communities, we must continue to strengthen our border by protecting all of the people who work there.

All border workers, including those at MIQ, airports and maritime ports, and all of those who are contracted to provide services in the border environment, are at the greatest risk of exposure to COVID-19.

If a border worker does not get vaccinated

Any border workers in roles affected by the Vaccinations Order must be vaccinated in order to continue with that work, unless they have an exemption or exception.

Who can apply for an exemption

The Order allows PCBUs to apply for a supply chain exemption for a named worker. 

The exemption came into force on 12 August 2021.

The Minister for COVID-19 Response decides if an exemption should be granted. 

Learn more about applying for a supply chain exemption | (external link)

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