Port satisfied with vaccine progress despite low uptake early on

3:35 pm on 12 August 2021

Eastland Port in Gisborne says there has been "rapid progress" in vaccinating privately employed border workers against Covid-19.

Port - African Pelican logship

The main private employer at Eastland Port, ISO Ltd, has reported that 65 percent of its 60 stevedores have had at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Photo: LDR / Gisborne Herald / Liam Clayton

It follows Ministry of Health data released by the National Party this week that showed 79 percent of Gisborne's privately employed port workers were completely unvaccinated at 22 July.

It was the highest rate of unvaccinated private sector border workers in any port around the country.

The main private employer at Eastland Port, stevedoring and marshalling contractor ISO Ltd, has reported that 65 percent of its 60 stevedores have had at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

A further 20 percent are booked in to receive the vaccine.

However, it means 35 percent, or about 21 stevedores, have not yet received a dose of the vaccine.

Port operator Eastland Group, who released ISO's vaccination figures, said it did not hold the vaccination status of the other 12 private contractors working on the port's frontline or know the number of fully vaccinated stevedores.

Stevedores are employed to load and unload ships.

Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins earlier this month said misinformation had kept 44 percent of port workers New Zealand wide from getting the vaccine.

ISO chief operating officer Andrew Davies said they strongly supported their staff getting vaccinated and would continue to do what they could to help inform and educate them.

A health order making vaccination compulsory was introduced on 14 July.

The order requires all privately employed frontline workers to have received their first dose by the end of September.

"As an employer we will ensure that the requirements of the Public Health Order are met," Davies said.

ISO will be hosting information sessions for their staff and families in the coming weeks.

Eastland Group chief operating officer Andrew Gaddum said "100 percent" of its seven frontline staff were fully vaccinated.

"The uptake amongst ISO staff and other contractors has been increasing rapidly," he said.

"Vaccination is another important tool in the fight against Covid-19."

Eastland Port had stringent health and safety protocols, and followed all requirements set by the Ministry of Health and Maritime NZ, he said.

"We maintain strict cleaning regimens and adhere to all PPE requirements, and regularly test frontline border workers."

no metadata

Local Democracy Reporting is a public interest news service supported by RNZ, the News Publishers' Association and NZ On Air.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs