4 Feb 2021

Covid-19: Government 'doing some work' on requirement for border workers to get vaccinated - Bloomfield

From Morning Report, 7:13 am on 4 February 2021

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says work is being done on how to ensure border workers will get vaccinated.

New Zealand has approved its first Covid-19 vaccine for use here.

The Government announced yesterday the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been given provisional use for people aged 16 and over, with two doses 21 days apart.

Workers at the frontline against Covid-19 are first in line to get jabbed, followed by healthcare workers who are most at risk of picking up the virus. 

Dr Bloomfield told Morning Report there will not be mandatory vaccination in New Zealand, an as far as he knows that is the case for almost every country in the world.

It's another story for employers and their workers though.

"It's really about the employment relationship, as in whether there are either legal or other ways, the role that vaccination has in terms of their workplace requirements."

Dr Bloomfield said he his focus would be on ensuring workers who may be worried about getting the vaccine feel supported.

"These workers need to feel confident about the information they've been given, feel confident in the process, about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and understand the importance and the value of the vaccine in protecting them and their families.

"That's a that's a key task for us, just to make sure they're fully engaged and have got all the information they want."

He said that approach will be his focus for handling vaccine hesitancy in the general public as well.

"My focus is on making sure people have got absolutely good information and that they have the opportunity to sit down and ask questions and be assured themselves.

"The reason I think that's the most important thing is we have shown in the past, even where we have like had low vaccination rates, if you take that approach in the case of childhood vaccination, the vast majority of people up to 95 percent will vaccinate their children, and you will overcome that hesitancy."