COVID-19 UPDATE: Mandatory vaccination Order expected on Friday

An amendment to the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021 is expected to be Gazetted this Friday. The NZPFU understands the Order is still being finalised but the Government’s intention is to finalise the Order to be Gazetted this week.  

Members are reminded the Order is likely to come in force within days of being Gazetted.

The Government has already announced that those undertaking the work covered by the Mandatory Order must receive their first dose of the vaccine by 30 October 2021 and be fully vaccinated by 1 December 2021. 

  • If the Order includes that requirement, those who have not received their first dose will not be able to undertake work covered by the Order from 31 October 2021.
  • If the Order is Gazetted this Friday with that requirement, that would mean affected workers would only have 6 days to access their first vaccination.

We have not seen the draft Order so cannot advice as to its applicability until it is released. The NZPFU priority will be to preserve our members’ employment if an applicable mandatory order was implemented. We have asked FENZ for an urgent meeting to discuss the industrial and employment issues if an Order covers the work of our members.   

For those wanting the latest information on the proposed scope of the Order please go to: https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19-vaccines/vaccinations-and-work/mandatory-vaccinations-for-workers/health-and-disability-sector-vaccinations/

Our members can be assured the NZPFU will work to preserve our members’ jobs,  including where necessary working with FENZ to identify appropriate alternative options and roles to maintain employment.

  • If you have been vaccinated there is nothing to do until we have the information on any applicable mandatory order.
  • If you are intending to be vaccinated then arrange to be vaccinated now.
  • If you are considering being vaccinated then we strongly suggest you arrange to be vaccinated now.
  • If you think you need medical advice before being vaccinated then get that advice now.  
  • If you think you may eligible for an exemption on medical grounds then make an appointment with your medical practitioner now to prepare for the possibility of having to provide written confirmation from a suitably qualified practitioner who has examined you. 
  • If you have other reasons you are not vaccinated please prepare for the possibility a mandatory vaccination order will cover the work you do.  This may include reconsidering your vaccination status, or preparing for your vaccination status being provided to your employer.  Please contact the union if you want to discuss your situation.  It would be helpful to know who and how many might be needing union support and representation for their particular circumstances if a mandatory order affected their work.  Until we have the detail of any Government Order and the application to your role we will not be able to provide specific advice.

Please remember this is a particular stressful time for those concerned about the Covid-19 virus, the vaccination, or the impact a mandatory Order may have on their employment, or the employment of a family member.  Remember our Members in Auckland and other areas have had it tough with longer lockdowns and Level 3 restrictions.   Please be considerate of those pressures and the decisions some members are facing.  If you need support please ask your union representative or your manager for help.  If you see someone struggling or under stress please reach out to offer support or help then access appropriate support.  Regardless of your position on vaccinations this is not the time to impose your views, this is the time for unity and compassion.

In unity,
Wattie Watson
National Secretary

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