Thursday, July 18, 2024

Mandatory vax talks begin at Porirua council

Porirua City Council is consulting with staff on a proposal to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory across the organisation.

Chief Executive, Wendy Walker said with the nation preparing to transition from an Elimination Strategy to the new Protection Framework it was time to consider how to best protect staff and the community.

“We are facing new challenges in the coming days, weeks and months as COVID-19 inevitably travels around New Zealand.”

“COVID-19 presents a significant health and safety risk to our workforce and the communities we serve, and the Delta variant has increased this risk,” she said.

“We have a number of staff working in public-facing roles which increase their chances of catching COVID-19 or spreading it to the vulnerable communities we work with, so there’s a strong case to require people in these roles to be fully vaccinated.

“But Council doesn’t operate in a vacuum – we’re an interconnected organisation.”

Ms Walker said given the highly infectious nature of the Delta variant, the virus could easily spread from people in public-facing roles to those who worked in other parts of the council, and vice versa.

“For this reason, I’m considering mandatory vaccination for all roles, as a high level of vaccination across the organisation is the best practical step we can take in response to the challenge we collectively face.”

The proposal has been circulated to staff and their feedback is encouraged. Consultation is open until 19 November and all responses will be considered before decisions are made, Ms Walker said.

“These are unusual and unsettling times, but my commitment is to provide a workplace that is safe for the people who work here and provides reassurance to our customers and the community,” she said.

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