New Zealand announces vaccine mandates for health and education workers
New Zealand officials announced Monday that COVID-19 vaccines would soon be mandatory for most workers in the education and health sectors.
Why it matters: The country is battling an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant, with Auckland the epicenter. NZ's most populous city has been under lockdown restrictions since August.
- Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced last week that her government was phasing out its elimination strategy, which proved successful before Delta arrived, and stepping up vaccination rates.
The big picture: COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said at a briefing Monday that under the mandate, health workers including doctors, community nurses and pharmacists must be fully vaccinated by December.
- Education workers including teachers and parents who regularly volunteer at schools have until January.
- Health and education groups welcomed the announcement, with the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners president Samantha Murton calling it a "bold, but necessary call to make."
By the numbers: The New Zealand government's goal is to achieve a 90% vaccination rate by Christmas.