Police, Defence Force ordered to get COVID-19 vaccines by March

The mandates were welcomed by officials

Police, Defence Force ordered to get COVID-19 vaccines by March

Workers from the New Zealand Police and the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) are now mandated to be fully immunised against COVID-19 by March 2022. The mandate covers sworn members, recruits, and authorised officers of the police, as well as all staff members of the NZDF, according to Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood. They are ordered to get their first dose by January 17 and get fully vaccinated by March 1.

"So many of the individuals within these organisations have been essential to our COVID-19 response and are already fully vaccinated,” said Wood. “But we want to ensure that those who serve and protect our communities on a daily basis can do so without unintentionally spreading the virus.”

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said that the organisation welcomes the "clear direction" from the government.

Read more: New Zealand government announces COVID-19 vaccine mandate for 40% of workers

"It is not my desire to lose anyone from the organisation as a result of this new mandate and we will work with staff covered by the Vaccination Order to encourage them to get vaccinated," he explained.

According to data from the police, a "vast majority" of their staff are already fully vaccinated at 86.5%. For those who are not covered by the health order, the Police Executive is carrying out an assessment to see if they should also be included. Meanwhile, Defence Minister Peeni Henare also welcomed the move, saying it "makes sense" that the NZDF is included in vaccine mandates for they are also assisting at regional borders.

According to government data, 98.4% of NZDF's uniformed personnel are already fully vaccinated, while 75% of civilian staff are fully immunised.

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