23 Nov 2021

More disability carers expected to reject mandate than expected

7:54 am on 23 November 2021

More disability care workers than previously anticipated are now expected to be stood down next week once vaccine mandate is implemented.

Cropped photo of mature female on wheelchair in the lobby at airport hall. Copy space in left side

A survey suggests about 600 disability care workers have not yet been vaccinated. Photo: 123RF

The government has granted a second extension to its mandate, meaning home care workers now have until Monday get their first dose before being stood down.

The Disability Support Network is expecting more carers to refuse vaccination than they first thought.

Surveying done by the sector suggests about 600 disability care workers have not yet been vaccinated, although it is still hard to know.

The support network's chief executive, Peter Reynolds, says the sector is focusing on outreach this week.

He's concerned some disabled people may try to keep their unvaccinated carers after the mandate comes into effect.

New Zealand Health Group, is still racing to support its workers to be vaccinated, but also trying to replace staff that will be stood down.

The country's largest network of healthcare providers would be standing down about 700 staff if the exemption wasn't granted but is still expecting some to remain unvaccinated.

At those numbers, about 3500 clients could have been impacted.

There is 94 percent of the organisation's workforce currently vaccinated.

Disability Connect's Colleen Brown is however optimistic the traffic-light system, once implemented, will prompt workers to get vaccinated.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs