All prison staff must get Covid vaccines by December

Source: 1News

All staff working in New Zealand prisons must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by December. 

generic prison jail

The mandate, confirmed by Cabinet on Tuesday, will extend to psychologists, health services staff, and many contractors that provide services to prisons. 

It doesn’t include people visiting prisoners, such as family and friends.

Corrections national commissioner Rachel Leota said staff had until October 30 to get their first dose, and until December 1 to get their second dose. 

“People in prison are some of the most vulnerable to Covid-19 due to the ease of transmission that Covid-19 can have in residential facilities with large numbers of people living in close proximity to each other,” she said.

“Many people in prison also have health conditions and vulnerabilities that make them more susceptible to becoming seriously unwell if an outbreak were to occur.

"Internationally there have been many reports of serious illness and deaths of prison staff and prisoners.”

Leota said more than 80 per cent of its 6300 frontline staff in prisons had already had their first vaccine dose by October 11 and more than 65 per cent were already fully vaccinated. 

“In addition, over 10,000 doses of the vaccine have been delivered to people in prison by Corrections Health Services staff.

"We are continuing to encourage all staff and people in prison to get the vaccine.” 

Since March last year, there have been eight Covid-19 cases in prisons.