By Sahiban Hyde
The head of Hawke's Bay Primary Principals Association says teachers will adhere to mandatory Covid vaccinations announced by the Government.
The Government announced Monday that hundreds of thousands of education and health staff - including teachers, GPs, pharmacists and nurses - will need to be fully vaccinated by January 1 or face losing their jobs.
"Teachers are government employees, so if it's mandated they will comply", said Carol Bevis, secretary of Hawke's Bay Primary Principals Association on the Covid vaccine becoming mandatory for school staff.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins earlier confirmed that any workers in the health and education sectors who refused to be vaccinated would not be able to work in those roles.
He said if parents were volunteering in schools, they would also need to be vaccinated.
The two-dose deadline for high-risk health and disability staff is December 1, and for education, including all school and ECE staff who come into contact with students, is January 1, 2022.
"It's a whole different level of ramifications for those who won't comply," said Bevis.
She said until today
the status of whether teachers had received the vaccine was private. "But now I will be going back to talk to teachers to ask them whether they have received the vaccine.
"Some wouldn't have because of medical conditions, and that's a different kettle of fish.
"Some wouldn't have because they are anti-vax. Hopefully, we'll get more advice from the Ministry around the vaccine but we'll be guided by the Cabinet.
"The devil is in the detail. I don't envy the Government's position, the Delta variant is a gamechanger."
NZ Principals' Federation president Perry Rush supported the compulsory vaccine but said it had a number of "fish hooks".
"NZPF is supportive of the Government's position, of the science-led approach," he said.
"They have set out a safe set of expectations, but the big question is - will the employment be disestablished or just the face-to-face component?
"I think it's wise for the teaching profession to be vaccinated, but the implications need careful planning."
He said it was disappointing that the Government had not shared all the details.
Hipkins, who is also the Education Minister, said it was not an easy decision to make.
From next year secondary schools would also be required to keep a register to show the vaccination status of students.
"But we need the people who work with vulnerable communities who haven't yet been vaccinated to take this extra step," he said.
"Exemptions may be possible under some circumstances."
A Ministry of Health spokesperson reminded everyone to stay vigilant for Covid symptoms, after saying there were a few close contacts in Hawke's Bay.
"There are only a very few number of contacts in Hawkes Bay, which we describe as less than 10 as this is the lowest figure we provide to protect privacy," they said.
"These contacts are self-isolating in the Hawke's Bay area. All have returned a negative test result since the last exposure."
They said waste sampling was an important part of the ministry's surveillance strategy.
"A detection of the virus in wastewater can provide an early warning of the need for increased local vigilance and allow health authorities to target public health advice. This would be to prevent transmission, including encouraging people with any Covid symptoms to get tested, use of the Covid app, wearing a mask and the need for physical distancing where possible.
"Wastewater samples are collected from Napier, Hastings, Waipukurau, Waipawa and Wairoa in Hawke's Bay," and they all returned a negative result.
Anyone with any symptoms, no matter how mild, are asked to call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice on getting a test.onday