Monday, March 4, 2024

Vaccination requirement to end for border, prison staff

The Government has announced an end to the requirement for border workers and corrections staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The change to regulations will come into effect from 2 July.

As of 23 June, 100% of corrections staff in prisons, and 97% of active border workers were fully vaccinated.

“As we have previously said we keep vaccine mandates under continuous review and remove them when safe to do so,” said COVID-19 Response Minister, Ayesha Verrall.

“Vaccination has been one of our strongest and most effective defences to protect against COVID-19. It’s helped protect our border and corrections workers and their whānau. But we feel the requirement has served its purpose well.”

Dr Verrall said the risk COVID-19 poses at the border was now much lower than it had been previously.

“Alongside high rates of vaccination amongst border workers the number of passengers arriving by air with COVID-19 is less than 3%.”

Corrections staff will also no longer be included in the Vaccination Order. Currently all corrections staff in prisons are fully vaccinated, with 72% of people in prison also fully vaccinated.

“How we manage COVID-19 in Aotearoa continues to change and as certain protections are no longer required we have shown we will remove them,” said Dr Verrall.

“We have high levels of vaccination amongst the general population and we have increasing protection in the population from prior infection, so tools like vaccine mandates in most settings are no longer necessary.

“Our corrections and border workers have played an extremely important role throughout the pandemic. I can’t thank them enough for their dedication and commitment to keeping us all safe,” she said.

The Minister said the Vaccination Order remains in place for health and disability workers as they continue to have close interactions with people who are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19.

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