New Zealand on Monday announced a comprehensive “no jab, no job” policy for most healthcare workers and teachers to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We can’t leave anything to chance, so we’re making it mandatory,” said COVID-19 response minister Chris Hipkins, who is also education minister.
Doctors, nurses and other frontline health workers should be double-pocketed by December 1, while all those who came in contact with students working in the education sector should get their two doses by January 1.
The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners endorsed compulsory vaccination with President Samantha Merton describing it as a “bold, but necessary call”.
Secondary schools will also be required to maintain a register showing the immunization status of students.
“Vaccination remains our strongest and most effective tool to protect against infection and disease,” Hipkins said.
The order includes home-based teachers and parents volunteering in schools, but no decision has been made on whether vaccination will be mandatory in the tertiary education sector.
Before the arrival of the delta version in August, New Zealand had won widespread praise for its COVID eradication policy, which largely saved the country from the pandemic.
Residents enjoyed normal home life along with tight restrictions at international borders.
However, the “Covid Zero” strategy fell apart when the delta was discovered in Auckland, New Zealand’s most populous, and has since spread to the surrounding Northland and Waikato provinces.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the highly permeable Delta version has proven to be a “game-changer” that cannot be eliminated.
(This story has not been edited by NB staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)