Nurses for Freedom NZ and the NZ Nurses Collective are concerned that once again the public have been misled with regards to the cessation of mandates in health.
“Despite the removal of all vaccine mandates from the 26th September 2022, public healthcare workers are still subject to Covid-19 vaccination requirements and may not be allowed to work in public healthcare settings despite systemic understaffing, gaps in access to timely services and the continued risk to the public that this brings” says Deborah Cunliffe, Spokesperson for Nurses for Freedom NZ and the NZ Nurses Collective.
Te Whatu Ora Capital Coast, Hutt Valley and Wairarapa amongst others, have been quick to confirm that all new contracts will require two primary doses of the Covid vaccine and at least one booster, citing health and safety legislation. Health NZ is currently working on a draft national policy expected to be completed by the 26th September to coincide with the end of the mandates.
Nurses for Freedom NZ has consistently campaigned for an end to the mandates and made it clear that unvaccinated nurses and other healthcare workers should be able to return to work in all settings and without prejudice.
“The government has announced that the pandemic is over however, fifteen hundred unvaccinated doctors, nurses, midwives and other public healthcare workers are still potentially subject to discrimination; hundreds more from the private health sector are also waiting to find out if they will be allowed back to work.
“As such, and to determine for themselves whether the discrimination is appropriate or not, the public should be provided with independent international evidence from ‘high quality, gold-standard’ research irrefutably proving unvaccinated healthcare workers are infact a greater risk to vulnerable populations when compared with their vaccinated counterparts” says Cunliffe. This is especially relevant considering the real and known risk that exists from reduced health service provision, an overstretched workforce and waning vaccine efficacy.`
“It is clear our patients and the public want us back. Preventing us from doing so adds to the general perception that dropping the mandates is purely about votes and has never been about science, health or transparency.”