New Zealand doctors, teachers face shot deadline
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Most of New Zealand’s health care workers and teachers will soon be legally required to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, the government announced Monday.
A new mandate compels doctors, pharmacists, community nurses and many other health care workers to be fully vaccinated by December. Teachers
and other education workers must be fully vaccinated by January.
COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said many in those professions had already gotten their shots, but they couldn’t leave anything to chance, especially because those people deal with sick patients and young children who aren’t yet approved for the vaccine themselves.
“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.
New Zealand already requires many people who work at the border to be vaccinated.
The announcement comes as New Zealand battles an outbreak of the highly transmissible delta variant in its largest city, Auckland.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday that Auckland would stay in lockdown for at least another week, while the nearby regions of Waikato and Northland could come out of lockdown on Thursday if no significant spread of the virus was found in those places. Auckland has been in lockdown for nearly two months.
About 68% of New Zealanders have had at least one dose of the vaccine and 47% are fully vaccinated. Among those aged 12 and over, the figures rise to 82% and 57%, respectively.