Govt seeks advice on mandatory vaccination for most health workers

Anna Whyte
Source: 1 NEWS

The Government is getting advice on a proposal to make immunisation against Covid-19 mandatory for most of those working in New Zealand's health workforce. 

Medical staff walk along a hospital corridor

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said at least 75 per cent of health workers were already fully vaccinated, after eligibility opened up early in the vaccine group two which started in late March. 

But, he said the nature of their jobs meant they were at greater risk to be exposed and infected by Covid-19, and it also opened up the possibility to transmit it to others. 

"We need vaccination rates to be very high across this particular workforce," he said. 

Australia, the US, Singapore, Canada, UK, France, Italy, Greece and Fiji made it mandatory for healthcare workers to be vaccinated, he said. 

"We are considering doing the same here in New Zealand," Hipkins said. 

The Ministry of Health will now consult around a proposal to require the majority of healthcare workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19. 

"This would apply to staff working in roles with a Covid-19 pathway, including the emergency department, those in primary care, those in settings with vulnerable patients and it would include people working in aged residential care, critical support services including medical laboratories and catering facilities and those providing home and community care services," Hipkins said. 

"It would require for them all to be vaccinated."

It would bring them into line with the mandatory vaccine requirements of MIQ and port workers. 

NZ Herald reported in August the Government was considering mandatory vaccinations for healthcare workers who were treating and in contact with Covid-19 patients.