Oct 11, 2021 - Health

New Zealand announces vaccine mandates for health and education workers

 Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addresses the media at a COVID-19 update press conference at Parliament on October 11, 2021 in Wellington, New Zealand.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a news conference at Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand, on Monday. Photo: Robert Kitchin - Pool/Getty Images

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.

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.

Go deeper