Mandatory boosters for key workforces progressing well

  • Hon Chris Hipkins

More than 5,785 (82%) border workers eligible for a booster vaccination at 6 months have received it so far, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says.

“That’s a really strong uptake considering we announced the requirement the week before Christmas, but we need to continue this momentum,” Chris Hipkins said.

“We know that the most likely place for Omicron to enter the community is at the border, so we want all border and eligible health and disability workers to have the extra protection the booster vaccine provides to protect them and their families.  The border continues to be our first line of defence,” Chris Hipkins said.

“The Ministry of Health is continuing to work with the sectors that have mandatory workers to help them identify and manage the boosters for their staff. It’s encouraging all employers, covered by the Vaccinations Order or not, to support their employees to get their booster vaccinations as soon as they are able to. 

“After consultation with the workforces most likely to come into contact with Omicron, workforces covered by the Vaccination Order including border, MIQ and health and disability workers will be required to have their booster by 15 February 2022, or not later than six months after their second dose for those who were only recently vaccinated. 

“All other workforces covered by the Vaccination Order including Education, Corrections, Police, Defence, and Fire and Emergency workforces will be required to have their booster vaccination by 1 March 2022. 

“Anyone aged 18 or older who has had two doses of COVID-19 vaccine at least four months ago is able to get their free booster vaccine.  Booster doses are available at all vaccination centres including walk-ins and drive-throughs,” Chris Hipkins said.

“The single most important thing New Zealanders can do to prepare for Omicron is to get a booster dose as soon as they are eligible. I want to thank all New Zealanders who have already arranged and received their boosters.”

Notes for editors:

  • On 21 December 2021, Cabinet announced a suite of precautionary measures to keep Omicron out of the community for as long as possible, including making it a requirement for eligible border and health workers to get a booster vaccination.
  • International evidence shows that booster doses provide good protection against Omicron, and by achieving high levels of booster protection we will be able to reduce the spread and severity of Omicron when it arrives.
  • Affected workers who are not eligible for a booster vaccination by the set dates should receive a booster vaccination no later than 6 months (183 days) after the completion of their primary course. However, they are eligible for a vaccine booster shot from four months after the completion of their primary vaccine course and the Ministry recommends they take the earlier dose, rather than wait the full six months.
  • People are not eligible for a booster vaccination if they are under 18 years of age. People covered by the Vaccinations Order who are under 18 years, can continue to work and they should not get their booster until they reach 18 years old.
  • The COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Amendment Order 2022 can be found here: https://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2022/0004/latest/

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