New Zealand Mandates Coronavirus Vaccines for Health Workers

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New Zealand’s federal government announced a new mandate on Monday that will legally require healthcare workers and teachers to receive a full dose of a Chinese coronavirus vaccine by January 2022, Channel News Asia (CNA) reported.

The mandate, issued on October 11, “compels doctors, pharmacists, community nurses and many other healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated by December,” according to the Singapore-based CNA.

Teachers and other education workers in New Zealand have until January 2022 to receive a Chinese coronavirus inoculation.

Northland Police check travel documentation in and out of Auckland on August 30, 2021, in Auckland, New Zealand. Auckland and Northland are expected to remain in level four lockdown. Under COVID-19 Alert Level 4 measures, people are instructed to stay at home in their bubble other than for essential reasons, with travel severely limited. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

“It’s not an easy decision, but we need the people who work with vulnerable communities who haven’t yet been vaccinated to take this extra step,” New Zealand’s “COVID-19” Response Minister, Chris Hickins, told reporters of the decree on Monday.

New Zealand’s government already requires most people who work in the nation’s customs and border sector to be fully vaccinated against the Chinese coronavirus. The island nation issued its first vaccine mandate for border personnel in May and expanded it to include “most border workers,” including those at “airports and ports,” in July.

In addition to customs and border staff, “government officials working at the border or an MIQ facility … [must] be vaccinated against COVID-19,” according to a notice posted to a New Zealand government website dedicated to the nation’s Chinese coronavirus response.

An “MIQ facility” is a “managed isolation and quarantine” site run by New Zealand’s government. Federal officials require “every single person entering New Zealand” to enter an MIQ facility for “14 days of managed isolation,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern​ told TVNZ’s Breakfast, a local morning news program, on July 12.

“If someone refuses in our facilities to be tested, they have to keep staying,” Arden said when describing protocol in the state-run MIQ facilities during a Facebook Live stream in June 2020.

“So they won’t be able to leave after fourteen days, they have to stay on for another fourteen days. So it’s a pretty good incentive,” Arden continued.

“You either get your tests done and make sure you’re cleared or we will keep you in the facility longer,” the prime minister added.

Arden said on October 11, New Zealand’s largest urban center, Auckland, will remain under strict lockdown orders “for at least another week” to contain the city’s most recent coronavirus outbreak.

“Auckland has been in lockdown for nearly two months, since the outbreak was discovered. Thirty-five new local cases were found in the city on Monday, bringing the total number of cases in the outbreak to a little over 1,600,” CNA reported. Auckland has an estimated population of over 1.63 million.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 20: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to media during budget day 2021 at Parliament on May 20, 2021 in Wellington, New Zealand. Budget 2021 is the third budget handed down by Finance Minister Grant Robertson, with a focus on economy, housing affordability, climate change and children. $1.4b dollars has been allocated to the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, along with benefits being raised by up to $55 a week as part of a $3.3b boost and a $4.6b investment in health. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to media during budget day 2021 at Parliament on May 20, 2021, in Wellington, New Zealand. $1.4b dollars has been allocated to the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, along with benefits being raised by up to $55 a week as part of a $3.3b boost and a $4.6b investment in health. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

New Zealand’s Ministry of Health is planning a “Super Saturday” vaccination drive for October 16. The event aims to encourage people nationwide to visit state-run clinics and receive a dose of a Chinese coronavirus vaccine. State officials have likened the so-called “Vaxathon” to Election Day, as vaccine centers will be open all day and into the evening hours.

“There will be prizes locally for those getting vaccinated, information from experts on the safety of the vaccine and some healthy competition between towns and regions,” Ardern told reporters of the drive on October 12.

Roughly 68 percent of New Zealanders have received at least one dose of a Chinese coronavirus vaccine, while 47 percent have received two doses.

Arden claimed during her TVNZ’s Breakfast interview in July that New Zealand’s federal government “would not require 100 percent of the population to be vaccinated” against the Chinese coronavirus.

“The government on Monday also announced an advanced purchase agreement for 60,000 courses of an experimental new pill by drug maker Merck, pending approval by New Zealand regulators,” CNA reported on October 11.

“The pill, molnupiravir, would be the first shown to treat COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus], if it’s approved by regulators including the US Food and Drug Administration,” the news agency noted.

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