New Zealand Mandates Covid-19 Vaccines For Health Workers, Teachers As It Continues To Battle Delta Outbreak

Monday's announcement by New Zealand's government was a mandate for teachers and health workers to be inoculated against Covid-19. This comes as the country continues to fight a small, but persistent, local epidemic fueled in part by the highly infectious Delta variant.

Premier Minister Jacinda Adern addresses media during a COVID-19 update conference at... Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand. Getty Images

The Key Facts

The new mandate requires that all health care workers, including pharmacists, community nurses, and doctors, be fully vaccinated by December 1st. Health workers must receive their first dose of vaccines by October 30 to meet the deadline. Chris Hipkins, Covid-19 Response Minister, stated that this will ensure they meet it. Teachers and other educators will be required to get vaccinated by January 1, 2022. During this time, all those not vaccinated must be tested weekly. All schools will have to keep a record of the vaccination status of all students. Masks will be required for all assemblies.

Important Quote

Hipkins stated that although most of those working in these industries are fully or partially vaccinated, we cannot leave anything to chance and made it mandatory while announcing our mandate.

Big Number

57%. This is the New Zealand eligibility rate. Every person aged 12 and over has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The total population of 2.38 million people according to official government data. After a slow start, the country has been able to quickly ramp up its vaccination program and is now aiming to vaccinate 90%.


Monday's announcement by the New Zealand Government included an advance purchase agreement for 60,000 units of a new experimental Covid-19 drug manufactured by Merck. This is pending approval by New Zealand regulators. The drugmaker has shown that the drug can be used in late-stage clinical trials and may even be available for use outside of hospitals.

Important Background

New Zealand's vaccine mandate comes a week after the country acknowledged it could no longer follow its zero Covid strategy, which relies on eliminating all local spread of the virus. New Zealand's tight border restrictions, quarantine and contact tracing measures had helped it effectively stop the spread of Covid-19 in its local area without resorting to prolonged lockdowns. New Zealand's pandemic response was celebrated as a model to other countries. New Zealand had a six-month record of no local Covid-19 cases before August was marked. New Zealand's largest city, Auckland has been under lockdown for almost two months due to the current outbreak of the highly infectious delta variant. The stringent outbreak has not done much to stop the spread. The U.S. vaccine mandates have been proven to be extremely effective in increasing vaccination rates.

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Radio NZ: Mandatory vaccinations for workers in the education and health sectors (Radio NZ).

Covid-19 NZ - A massive mandate for vaccines for teachers and healthcare workers (Stuff NZ).

(Associated Press). New Zealand's teachers and doctors must be vaccinated soon.

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