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Te Whatu Ora (Health NZ) COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

Te Whatu Ora (Health NZ) launched its Pre-employment COVID-19 Vaccination Policy early in July 2023.

Following widespread consultation, Te Whatu Ora has determined that the Covid 19 vaccination will not be mandatory, instead preferring a 'principled, risk-assessment based approach.'  Te Whatu Ora states that vaccination will be 'promoted, encouraged and provided in the workplace by means of a supportive and encouraging approach to help prevent and mitigate the effects of various infections, and as part of an overall strategy to reduce harm from diseases in healthcare settings.' No exemption processes are mentioned in the policy. 

According to the Policy, Nurses will be in one of two Categories. Category A includes those 'at a higher risk of workplace exposure to COVID-19 through face-to-face patient interaction and because they work in clinical areas.'

Category B Workers are Nurses in roles with an equivalent risk to a non-healthcare workplace, for example, office-based with infrequent or no patient contact.

Te Whatu Ora 'expects' all new Category A workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and 'recommends' the vaccine for new Category B workers. This policy does not cover existing staff requirements but it does include employees, closely-held clinical contractors, those with access agreements, students, trainees and contractors.

Those applying for a Category A role and who remain unvaccinated, will be directed to a  risk assessment pathway in the pre-employment process. This process must be completed prior to commencing work or training and recruitment will only proceed if accommodations and/or restrictions can be 'suitably and reasonably managed.' 

Occupational Health Departments,  Human Resources and Managers will decide on the suitability of potential applicants in this regard. 

Unvaccinated Category B workers do not require a risk assessment process.

NPANZ is able to support members to navigate this process.