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8000 unvaccinated or partly vaccinated health workers were allowed to keep working

Ruth HillReporter RNZ

More than 8000 unvaccinated or partly vaccinated health workers were allowed to keep working during the Covid-19 pandemic because critical services could not function without them.

Data released to RNZ under the Official Information Act, shows health providers – including district health boards, GP clinics and home-help agencies – made 516 applications for exemptions to avoid Significant Service Disruptions of which 102 were granted.

Of the 8051 healthworkers covered by these exemptions between October 2021 and September 2022, more than 5000 were employed by district health boards.

Nearly half, 3935, were care and support workers – but the total also included 352 doctors (out of nearly 19,000 registered), 992 administration workers, 788 allied health professionals and 1984 nurses and midwives.

The Nurses Organisation, which represents 60,000 plus nurses and midwives, noted those exempted were a tiny minority of the total health workforce.

Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku said the union was not given a lot of information about the reasons for exemptions at the time.

“And that’s why these figures are quite alarming to us, because we just don’t know what sits behind that.”

Given it was a public health emergency, it was essential to get as many people vaccinated as possible, Nuku said.

However, she readily admitted it would have been preferable to allow a more nuanced approach for some individuals, if there had been more time to prepare.

“This was a really difficult time for all in the workforce. Every nurse goes to work to do the best they possibly can, and these vaccine mandates certainly posed many good people against one another, and we have to do things better.”

Recent research by Auckland University of Technology published in February concluded mandates had limited effect on increasing vaccine uptake among the country’s 171,486 healthcare workers.

Economics professor Gail Pacheco, who co-authored the study, said almost 90 percent of healthcare workers had already received two doses of the vaccine when the mandates were announced in October 2021.

There was no sudden jump: vaccination coverage among healthcare workers increased at the same steady rate until it hit more than 95 percent, she said.

But what mandates definitely did was damage pay and career prospects for unvaccinated workers.

“In addition to not improving vaccine uptake, the employment rate fell by 15 percent and earnings fell by 19 percent compared to vaccinated workers not subjected to the mandate.”

Pacheco, director of the New Zealand Policy Research Institute at AUT, said the mandates may have eroded trust in the government.

“And it could also have strengthened the anti-vax sentiment more generally, which will not only affect uptake of the Covid vaccine, but more routine immunisations as well.”

Partly that was because people did not like being “told what to do”, she said.

“There was a German survey that found just over 3 percent of people said they would not want the Covid-19 vaccination if it was voluntary. But that increased to more than than 16% if it was mandatory.”

Another 6410 people received a temporary medical exemption between November 2021 and September 2022 – of whom 89 percent had had a recent Covid-19 infection.

Health New Zealand Te Whatu Ora says some of these people could have been included in the Significant Service Disruption Exemptions, but it did not track the potential overlap.

Pacheco said none of the health workers interviewed for the study saw themselves as “anti-vaccine”.

Many received exemptions after suffering an adverse reaction to the first dose, or due to an underlying medical condition.

But they struggled with the hostile reaction from other people, including workmates.

One nurse told researchers:

“We’re supposed to be a caring profession. Nothing about this is caring Due to no fault of my own, I have now been labelled an anti-vaxxer and anti-science, and in some people’s opinion, not worthy of calling myself a nurse. This hurts me immensely. This is what mandates have done. There is no room for individual circumstances.”

Even after the mandates were lifted, the employment and earnings of unvaccinated workers never fully recovered, Pacheco said.

“It then created a greater impact in the health sector because there were also fewer workers moving into that sector [due to closed borders and international shortages], so it exacerbated worker shortages.”

Otago University public health professor Michael Baker said the mandates were probably not the biggest factor driving distrust and vaccine hesitancy.

“The anti-vax group has grown a lot in New Zealand, and I think it’s been driven by really appalling misinformation.”

The problem with a successful public health strategy was “nothing happens”, he said.

“No-one sees those lives saved, those 20,000 New Zealanders who didn’t die because of vaccination.”

The mandates were a curb on people’s freedoms – but it was always “a trade-off”, he continued.

“We didn’t have compulsory vaccination as some countries had. Certainly there was a lot of pressure to get vaccinated if you stood to lose your job if you didn’t, so that was coercive.

“But you have to balance it against lives saved, reduced hospitalisations and fewer people getting long Covid.”

It would be for the Royal Commission to determine what worked and what did not, so that New Zealand would be better prepared for future pandemics, he said.

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Covid-19 Lessons Learned, which is looking at the whole pandemic response, including vaccine mandates, will deliver its final report by the end of September.

As of 7 January 2024, over 774 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and more than seven million deaths have been reported globally.

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10 COMMENTS

    • Doubt many trust Bakers half baked verbal spewings, ditto Ashley and Ardern, pity they failed to notice how Uttah Pradesh and much of Africa who used Ivermectin and had much lower levels of infection and harm.

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  1. Great so the Nurses union is still invested in jabbing people compulsorily.
    sooner orgs like this are euthenased and removed from society the better. they’re worse than a sick cow that would go down and offal hole.

    There was no sudden jump: vaccination coverage among healthcare workers increased at the same steady rate until it hit more than 95 percent, she said.

    But what mandates definitely did was damage pay and career prospects for unvaccinated workers.

    “In addition to not improving vaccine uptake, the employment rate fell by 15 percent and earnings fell by 19 percent compared to vaccinated workers not subjected to the mandate.”

    So where is the discrimination commissioner right now?
    Becuase that’s what this became.
    Ciscrimination against the un vaxxed. Is that racist.
    Must be I’m, guessing there were more than white people in that group.

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  2. Every time Mike Baker, etc., is in the media, then the media & MB need to be challenged !
    When was the date of your last Covid booster?
    Then be howling laughed at for being a “woose” & not being up to date & turn them into a 2 faced joke !

    Nothing to do with privacy, as there was often a life changing event, like loss of job, less pay, dismal job prospects that publicly branded people who for whatever reason did not take the Covid vaxx.

    Those pro vaxxers should be wearing that booster shot, being up to date, as a badge of honour !
    So that question should be raised ! all the time. ! ! !

    Luxon etc, Shane Reti, skiting, media photo shoot about having the flue vaxx,
    But why the silence about the supposed new adjusted perfect Covid vaxx available now?

    That should be raised every-time with our politicians and others in supposed authority, when in public.
    No mention of the Covid vaxx, not even a question ! Why not? ? ?

    Even if they lie, it needs to go on the record, those dates & times of when they were jabbed.
    That is how experimental, phase 3 with EUA medicines, that are foisted onto the public should be monitored. 🙂

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  3. Otago University public health professor Michael Baker said

    “No-one sees those lives saved, those 20,000 New Zealanders who didn’t die because of vaccination.”

    Perhaps my memory is shot but wasn’t it 80.000 who were going to die.

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  4. “The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Covid-19 Lessons Learned, which is looking at the whole pandemic response, including vaccine mandates, will deliver its final report by the end of September.”

    They plan to have The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Covid-19 all wound up, polished and tied with a bow by September and they haven’t even started yet. That can’t be investigated properly?! WHITEWASH!!

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  5. ……“There was a German survey that found just over 3 percent of people said they would not want the Covid-19 vaccination if it was voluntary. But that increased to more than than 16% if it was mandatory.”……..

    Surely those who micro manage us are not so black hole dense that they can’t get the takeaway from this. Best put by author Ian Watson:

    …..”“If you have to be persuaded, reminded, pressured, lied to, incentivised, coerced, bullied,
    socially shamed, guilt-tripped, threatened, punished and criminalised …
    If all of this is considered necessary to gain your compliance —
    you can be absolutely certain that what is being promoted is not in your best interest.”

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  6. More government bullshit… Has anyone remembered NZ along with all other countries are expected to sign the WHO Treaty in May and WE HAVEN’T SEEN THE CONTRACT YET.

    The WHO Treaty overseen by a Marxist terrorist will make ALL DECISIONS worldwide regarding our personal health and the NZ’s health and welfare. Where is the discussion, WTF is happening? Has this already been decided by those who are supposed to be representing the people of NZ? This is not good for anyone.

    According to Redacted, the WHO contract was to be available to read four months prior to May.

    (From 46 minutes) WHO Pandemic Treaty: Pandemics, mandates, vaccines, determine treatments, tracking, redistribution of everything… You will own nothing and be happy.
    https://rumble.com/v4n2jgu-this-is-war-iran-readies-massive-strikes-in-response-baltimore-bridge-attac.html

    The State of Louisiana has decreed they will not be covered by any of the WEF, WHO or the UN. We need to do the same. FO globalists.

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