New Zealand has announced a sweeping "no jab, no job" policy for its healthcare workers and teachers to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
As shared in media reports, Chris Hipkins, the COVID-19 Response Minister and NZ Education Minister said, "We can't leave anything to chance so that's why we are making it mandatory.”
"Vaccination remains our strongest and most effective tool to protect against infection and disease," Hipkins added.
According to this new order, doctors, nurses and other frontline health workers must be double-jabbed by December 1 while everyone working in the education sector who has contact with students must have their two doses by January 1.
The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners backed mandatory vaccinations with President Samantha Murton describing it as a "bold, but necessary call" to make.
Secondary schools will also be required to keep a register to show the vaccination status of students.
The order includes home-based educators and parents volunteering at schools, but no decision has been made on whether vaccination will be mandatory in the tertiary education sector.
On this new order, Hipkins further said, "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.”
Hipkins said all school employees in Auckland and other level 3 regions will be required to return a negative COVID-19 test before they can return to work onsite.
"Those who are not fully vaccinated in the period leading up to January 1, 2022, will also be required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing."
The Ministry of Education will work closely with smaller schools in isolated communities, Hipkins mentioned. Those in rural areas were just as at risk as people living in cities, and that was a message that would be pushed in schools.
Hipkins said the ministry is used to supporting schools that have short-term staffing needs and will continue to do that.