"No jab, no job" – New Zealand adopts hardline employment stance for teachers and health workers
"We can’t leave anything to chance."
"No jab, no job" is the clear message sent to healthcare workers and teachers in New Zealand as the country seeks to squash the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Last week, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern conceded that her government's 'Covid Zero' strategy had hit a considerable wall.
"Even with the long-term restrictions we've had, we patently haven't reached zero," said Ardern, who pointed to the Delta variant as a "game-changer" that has thus far proved impossible to eradicate.
One week on, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins – who also serves as Minister of Education – has introduced the hardline "no jab, no job" stance for the vast majority of healthcare workers and teachers in New Zealand.
Doctors, nurses and other frontline healthcare workers must be double-jabbed by the beginning of December, while all employees in the education sector must follow suit by the start of January.
“We can’t leave anything to chance so that’s why we are making it mandatory," noted Hipkins during a press conference on Monday, 11 October.
Under the new guidelines, secondary schools will be required to keep a register of students that have and have not been vaccinated.
"There are no requirements on the learners to be vaccinated," said Hipkins.
"That's really important – we're not going to exclude people from being able to participate in education because they can't be vaccinated or because of whatever reason they have chosen or their parents have chosen not to vaccinate them.
"Bear in mind, one of the reasons that we are particularly conscious of education is that a very significant number of children in schools can't be vaccinated at this point."
Asked if this was a tough decision to make, Hipkins said:
"I would certainly encourage all those young people who are eligible to come forward and be vaccinated. We are seeing a good uptick in the last couple of weeks.
"This government and previous governments have taken the view that people who haven't been vaccinated shouldn't be excluded from education – in fact, often those are the very people who need a good education."
Clip via NZ Herald