Sydney, Australia, Oct 11 (EFE).- The New Zealand government announced Monday that all health workers and teachers would need to get vaccinated against Covid-19 or risk losing their jobs.
“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,” Education and Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said at a press conference with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
High-risk workers in the health and disability care sector will need to receive their first dose of the vaccine by Oct.30 and the second dose by Dec.1.
Teachers in schools and kindergartens should be fully immunized by Jan.1, 2022.
The measure comes in response to the persistence of Delta variant cases of the coronavirus in Auckland, the most populated city in the country and under lockdown since mid-August, after months of practically living under normalcy.
New Zealand’s policy of compulsory vaccination of workers in critical sectors is similar to that adopted in Australia and several European countries, such as France.
Meanwhile, in other countries such as Germany there is a legal debate on whether this obligation violates fundamental rights.
New Zealand, one of the last countries to discard the “zero-infection” strategy with short and strict lockdowns, has recorded some 4,700 cases, including 28 deaths, since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
So far, New Zealand has administered the first dose of the vaccine to 67 percent of its adult population of 5 million and both doses to 41 percent. EFE