Mandatory vaccinations for workers

Find out about mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for workers at the border and sectors including health and disability and education.

Some workers need to have their first vaccine by Friday 3 December

Workers covered by the My Vaccine Pass mandate need to have their first dose by 3 December and be fully vaccinated by 17 January 2022.

This applies to hospitality, events, gatherings, close contact businesses and gyms.

For those who are not yet vaccinated, especially workers in areas where My Vaccine Passes can be applied, there are 10 days left to get your first dose.

Government providing business the tools to vaccinate workforces

Why COVID-19 vaccinations are mandatory

Sectors that have mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations include:

  • health and disability
  • education
  • correctional
  • NZ Police
  • NZ Defence Force.

This may be because they work with populations that:

  • are unable to be vaccinated
  • are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19
  • are at-risk of outbreaks.

Vaccination in these sectors is an important tool for reducing infection and transmission.

For example, in healthcare, workers are more likely to be in contact with someone that has COVID-19, making it a high-risk sector. A high rate of vaccination in this sector will help to protect staff from getting sick and passing COVID-19 onto others, including those who are at risk from severe illness.

Most people in these sectors are already vaccinated. But getting everyone in these sectors vaccinated is critical to the management of COVID-19.

Border worker vaccinations

Workers at the border and in managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) settings are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Learn more about border worker vaccinations

Education sector vaccinations

Certain roles in the education sector are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

This includes anyone who works, volunteers, or does unpaid work in education and who either:

  • will have contact with children or students while working, or
  • will be at an education service when children or students are present.

Education services where workers, volunteers or unpaid workers need to be vaccinated include:

  • early childhood education and care centres — for example, kindergartens
  • registered schools, including state schools, state-integrated schools and private schools
  • licensed home-based education and care services, for children under 5 years old — every person 12 years of age and over in the home where the home-based education takes place will need to be vaccinated
  • hospital-based education and care services
  • hostels or boarding establishments used for the accommodation of students at a registered school
  • before and after school care and holiday programme services.

The mandatory order does not include:

  • tertiary institutions or people that work within them
  • playgroups (these are groups meet regularly to help children play and will usually have a parent or caregiver present).

Education workers must get their first dose by 15 November 2021. They must get their second dose by 1 January 2022.

Vaccination status register

All registered schools that have students over the age of 12 need to maintain a register of students’ COVID-19 vaccination status from 1 November. This is a direction issued by the Secretary for Education under the Education Training Act 2020. It is not mandatory for students to be vaccinated.

Under the Public Health Order, schools must maintain a register of the COVID-19 vaccination status of workers.

Health and disability sector vaccinations

Workers in health and disability roles and settings are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Health practitioners who need to be vaccinated include:

  • chiropractors
  • dentists, dental hygienists, dental therapy and oral health therapy
  • dietitians
  • anaesthetists
  • medical laboratory scientists
  • radiographers
  • doctors
  • midwives
  • nurses
  • occupational therapists
  • optometrists and dispensing opticians
  • osteopaths
  • paramedics
  • pharmacists
  • physiotherapists
  • podiatrists
  • psychologists
  • psychotherapists.

Anyone who works closely with these health practitioners or who work in a facility providing healthcare also need to be vaccinated. These include:

  • reception and administration staff
  • shop assistants in community pharmacies
  • anyone working in a hospital — for example laundry staff, orderlies, or administration staff
  • anyone working in a rest home — for example kitchen and cleaning staff
  • anyone whose work involves being within 2 metres or less of a health practitioner or member of the public for 15 minutes or more
  • fertility service staff
  • residential disability care staff.

Care and support workers who go into people’s homes to provide services funded by the Ministry of Health, DHBs or ACC will need to be vaccinated. This includes any family, whānau or aiga who are paid to provide support or care in the disabled person’s home.

Health and disability workers need their first dose by 15 November 2021. They must get their second dose by 1 January 2022.

Corrections sector vaccinations

Workers in the corrections sector are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

This includes:

  • all staff who work in prisons
  • health care staff working in prisons
  • psychologists working in prisons and the community
  • many contracted providers and people who provide services in prisons
  • all other healthcare professionals that work within prisons.

Corrections workers needed to have their first dose by 6 November 2021. They must get their second dose by 8 December 2021.

NZ Police vaccinations

All sworn members, recruits and authorised officers of the New Zealand Police are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

They must have their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 17 January 2022, and their second dose by 1 March 2022.

NZ Defence Force vaccinations

All New Zealand Defence Force staff are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

They must have their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 17 January 2022, and their second dose by 1 March 2022.

Exemptions and exceptions

Workers in the corrections, health and disability, and education sectors may be able to get an exemption from being vaccinated against COVID-19.

To apply for an exemption, workers will need to have an assessment with a health practitioner and have written confirmation of this.

A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) may apply to the Minister for COVID-19 Response for an exception for a worker to prevent significant disruption to essential health services.

Find out more about exemptions and exceptions from mandatory vaccination | (external link)

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