As advised by Iona Holsted – Secretary for Education in COVID-19 update – 28 October 2021

Questions and answers about the COVID-19 Required Vaccinations Order.


How do we decide which roles don’t require someone to be vaccinated?

You will need to determine which roles being carried out onsite are covered by the Order. Remember that all roles that require the staff member to be present at a time when children are also present are covered.

If a worker’s role means they may have contact with children in the course of carrying out their work, then they are also covered.

If a staff member disagrees that their work is covered by the Order, you should consider their reasons with an open mind before making a decision.


Do all staff, and volunteers whose work is covered by the Public Health Order (referred to as staff members) need to be fully vaccinated?

Yes, unless they are medically exempt, they need to have received a first vaccination by 15 November and be fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022.


Do the vaccination requirements apply excursions or education in similar settings?

Your staff members (as well as volunteers and contractors) who are involved in excursions and may have contact with children in the course of carrying out their work are required to be vaccinated.


Can a staff member choose not to be vaccinated, but to undergo regular testing instead?

No, all staff members who do work covered by the Public Health Order must have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 15 November 2021 and, in alert level 3 regions, undergo regular testing until they are fully vaccinated (no later than 1 January 2022).


Am I legally allowed to ask staff members for their vaccination status? What about privacy requirements?

Yes. The Public Health Order requires you to maintain a register that includes the date(s) your staff members were vaccinated. It also requires staff members to tell you this information. If they do not provide you with this information you should assume they are not vaccinated.

However, privacy must be maintained. The usual requirements around collecting, recording, using and storing personal information will apply. Given the sensitivity of the information being collected, careful consideration will need to be given to ensure no unauthorised access to the information can occur.


Can I tell our parent and whānau community about the testing and vaccination status of our staff?

Staff are welcome to share their own vaccination status at any time, however, employers cannot do so without the individual’s permission. This includes not sharing the vaccination status of groups of staff members if the vaccination status of individuals within that group is likely to be able to identified.


What proof of vaccination is required?

You may accept any proof which assures you that the staff member is fully vaccinated. This may be an email, immunisation card, or SMS that the staff member has received from their vaccinator or medical provider, the Book My Vaccine website, or the My COVID Record website.One easy way to provide proof of vaccination is for people to get a vaccination statement from My Covid Record.


What if a staff member refuses to be vaccinated or refuses to share the necessary information?
All staff members are required to be vaccinated, see points above. If a staff member refuses to share information their vaccination status should be recorded as unvaccinated.


What if a staff member initially refused to get vaccinated, but changes their mind before 1 January 2022?
A staff member who gets their first vaccination after 15 November can return to work on site. They must still receive their second vaccination on or before 1 January 2022. Remember that there needs to be at least three weeks between vaccinations.


If I’m not going to be working on site, do I have to be vaccinated?
No. This Order only applies to those who are physically onsite or for excursions and may have contact with children in the course of carrying out their work.
It does not apply to those who are performing services only remotely. If services are partially on site and partially remote, then the vaccination requirements apply.


What does fully vaccinated mean?
Fully vaccinated means the person has received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. See more in our bulletin on 15 October.
The Public Health Order also allows for some alternative vaccinations to reflect that some people may have been vaccinated overseas.


What if a staff member undertaking work or providing a service onsite is unable to be vaccinated?
The person must provide you with written confirmation from a suitably qualified health practitioner that they have been examined and the health practitioner has determined that vaccination would be inappropriate for the person due to physical or medical reasons.
The employer must honour this and should work with the affected person to determine the duties that they can safely undertake onsite which does not compromise the safety of children or the greater community.

Can a staff member take leave rather than be vaccinated?

This Order applies to those who are physically onsite. A staff member who is on leave will become subject to the Order when they return to work.
The usual policies and funding settings around leave apply.

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