WELLINGTON, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand requires mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for teachers and health workers, the two workforces that are critical to preventing the spread of the virus, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said on Monday.
High-risk workers in the health and disability sector are required to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 1, and to receive their first dose by Oct. 30, Hipkins said in a statement.
School and early learning staff and support people who have contact with children and students are required to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 1, 2022, and to receive their first dose by Nov. 15, according to Hipkins.
"Vaccination remains our strongest and most effective tool to protect against infection and disease, and we need as many workers as possible to be vaccinated to allow sectors to respond to the pandemic and deliver everyday services with as little disruption as possible," Hipkins said, adding most people working in these sectors have already fully or partially vaccinated.
It will reassure those who are anxious about their children attending school and early learning services, he said, adding exemptions may be possible under some circumstances.
The COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021 will be updated to require anyone conducting high-risk work in the health and disability sector to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 1, the minister said.
Under these new requirements, general practitioners, pharmacists, community health nurses, midwives, paramedics, and all healthcare workers in sites where vulnerable patients are treated must receive their first dose of the vaccine by Oct. 30.
"Those who are not fully vaccinated in the period leading up to Jan. 1, 2022, will also be required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing," he said, adding relevant work is continuing on whether mandatory vaccinations will be required in the tertiary education sector. Enditem