New Zealand healthcare workers and teachers are facing a “no jab, no job” policy to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Paradise of the Pacific says it will soon require most of its healthcare workers and teachers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Education Minister, and COVID-19 Response Minister, Chris Hipkins said “We can’t leave anything to chance so that’s why we are making it mandatory. It’s not an easy decision, but we need the people who work with vulnerable communities who haven’t yet been vaccinated to take this extra step.”
Today’s announcement compels, doctors, pharmacists, community nurses, and other healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated by December 1st. While education workers, who are in contact with students, will need to be double-jabbed by January 1st.
The mandatory vaccines have been backed by the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, with President Samantha Murton describing it as a “bold, but necessary call”.
Under the new rules, secondary schools will be required to keep a register detailing a student’s vaccination status.
“Vaccination remains our strongest and most effective tool to protect against infection and disease,” Hipkins said.
Although home-based educators and parents volunteering at schools are included in the new ruling, a decision is yet to be made on whether vaccination will be mandatory in the on-base education sector.
Prior to the mutation of COVID-19 into its Delta variant last August, New Zealand had largely protected the country from the pandemic with its elimination policy, gaining widespread praise. Alongside tight restrictions on international borders, residents of the country were still able to enjoy a near-normal domestic lifestyle.
However, when the Delta variant was detected in New Zealand’s most populated region, Auckland, the country’s “COVID Zero” strategy failed – with the city under tough COVID restrictions since mid-August. With 35 new cases, all of them in New Zealand’s biggest city, the coronavirus outbreak has since spread to the surrounding Northland and Waikato provinces.
The highly transmissible Delta variant has proven to be a “game-changer” that could not be eliminated.