As announced by the Government on Monday 12 September, the COVID-19 protection framework has been ‘retired’.
Of relevance to our community is the removal of the vaccination mandate for the health and disability sector workers (which includes workers in aged care and residential) – that will take effect next week at 11.59pm, Monday 26 September.
The mandate was introduced to protect workers in high-risk settings from COVID-19 and help prevent transmission between workers and vulnerable people. The mandate is no longer needed now the affected workforce has a very high vaccination rate (estimated to be greater than 95 percent), and vaccination has a reduced overall efficacy against Omicron transmission.
The removal of the order applies to the remaining health and disability workers in the following settings:
- Health practitioners dealing with patients in person, such as doctors, nurses and dentists
- Workers in medical centres/GP practices, pharmacies (such as receptionists or assistants)
- Workers employed or engaged by certified providers – which includes hospitals, rest homes, or residential disability care facilities
- Care and support workers - workers employed or engaged to provide care and support services within a home or place of residence.
All exemptions previously granted will expire at 11:59pm on 26 September. This includes both Temporary Medical Exemptions and Temporary Serious Service Disruption Exemptions. No exemption applications will be accepted after 11:59pm on 26 September.
Some businesses and organisations may choose to continue COVID-19 vaccination requirements through employment contracts - for example, the Te Whatu Ora active vaccination policies across each of the districts and entities will remain in place until a national policy has been agreed.
Guidance on employment law, health and safety law and contractual requirements can be found: