Mandatory vaccine decision for health and education workforce on Monday

The Government will decide on Monday if it will mandate the Covid-19 vaccine in New Zealand's education and health workforce, and to what extent the rule would reach into the sectors. 

Children in classroom

Consultation began in September around making immunisation against Covid-19 mandatory for most of those working in New Zealand's health workforce. 

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said on Thursday there were conversations currently "on exactly where the line should be drawn".

He said Cabinet would make decisions on Monday if a mandate could extend to employees in the health sector, such as lab staff. 

"Who are processing samples from people and who are pretty critical to the overall functioning of the health system."

Hipkins previously said at least 75 per cent of health workers were already fully vaccinated, after eligibility opened up early for the vaccine group two in late March. 

"This would apply to staff working in roles with a Covid-19 pathway," he said last month. 

National's Chris Bishop said he wanted to see the public health advice, but said there was "really good cases for teachers to be vaccinated".

"They will be operating in an environment with large numbers of children and I've had a lot of parents say to me they're uncomfortable sending their kids to classrooms with early childhood teachers, and with secondary and primary teachers who are not vaccinated."

Auckland's phased step Level 3 approach saw ECE return with a maximum of 10 children in each bubble, and all schools expected back after the school holidays on October 18, pending health advice at the time.