Vaccination against Covid-19 is becoming more important than ever, with jabs now compulsory for healthcare and education workers and vaccine certificates signalled for November.
Not to mention Northland's current encounter with the Delta strain in the form of two women who travelled around the region and both tested positive for the virus earlier this month.
Community and national leaders are heralding the vaccine as the key to there being no more lockdowns and keeping our communities safe.
But as Career Focus founder and director Muriel Willem told the Advocate, having the vaccine may be more significant if compulsory jabs become more commonplace.
Willem is a career development and employment specialist with more than 30 years of experience in the country's education sector. She has her finger on the pulse when it comes to providing quality career advice and guidance.
She has a network of employer connections and an in-depth knowledge of available courses, pathways for learning and employment opportunities.
Willem shares her educated insights into what the future could look like for young, unvaccinated Northlanders.
In the workplace:
* Workplaces may make it compulsory for existing staff on the frontline or in customer-facing positions to be vaccinated. Staff who refuse may be offered a non-customer-facing role. However, if none are available, employers may need to discuss terminating a worker's contract.
* Employers can include a Covid-19 vaccination as part of future employment terms if it is considered reasonable for the role. If this is the case, vaccinated job seekers will have more chance of being hired than unvaccinated candidates.
* Young employees could be relied upon to help keep businesses afloat if the Delta outbreak grows in Tai Tokerau as a result of immuno-compromised or chronically ill employees being unable to go to work for health reasons.
Outside of work:
When Covid-19 vaccination certificates - likely digital, with a QR code - are introduced they may be used in many places. Without them, it is highly unlikely that people can attend large crowd events such as festivals, concerts and graduation ceremonies. Even a shopping trip or grabbing a bite to eat at a cafe or restaurant could prove a problem. Travel could be an issue. Air New Zealand recently announced that travellers on international services must be vaccinated, and it is considering making it mandatory for domestic travel too.
High vaccination rates among Kiwis are essential if we want New Zealand's borders to open up. The pressure will be on everyone to get vaccinated to reopen our economy.
Unvaccinated people may pose a risk to people within their circle - whānau and friends of any age who may be immuno-compromised.
We are seeing family and friends divided over the vaccination debate. Unvaccinated youth, who will become a minority group, will be faced with frustration from the vaccinated majority or those who are immuno-compromised and cannot get vaccinated. These will be challenging and stressful circumstances for young people to navigate, potentially with little support.