A week ahead of the deadline for all border workers to be vaccinated, 96 per cent of 12,800 registered border workers have had at least one vaccination while 485 workers were yet to have one.
Vaccination orders require all those in jobs at the border, including the ports, to be vaccinated by the end of September – or face losing their job or being redeployed into a different position.
Under the orders, public sector border workers had to be vaccinated by August 26, while for the privately employed, the deadline is the end of September.
Figures provided by the Ministry of Health show that as of Monday night, 96 per cent of the 12,808 registered workers have had at least one vaccination. Of those, 736 had had one injection while 11,587 were fully vaccinated.
The numbers of those yet to be jabbed had dropped from almost 1,500 just before the Delta outbreak began in August to 485.
The figures for port workers had rocketed from 44 per cent to 90 per cent since August, when low vaccination rates among that workforce were highlighted by the visits of several vessels with Covid-19 cases on board.
Of the 2,891 port workers, 287 had not yet had a vaccination. 2,143 were fully vaccinated and a further 461 had one dose.
In August, Covid-19 Minister Response Chris Hipkins voiced concern about the port workers, saying vaccine hesitancy was particularly high among that group.
On Tuesday he said the high uptake now was encouraging after a "mammoth effort" to ensure workers understood the requirements and why it was important to get vaccinated, and to try to make the process easy.
"The border is our first line of defence against Covid-19 and we want to keep our people who work there safe. We also want to ensure that they are less likely to become infected and pass the virus on to others."
National Party Covid-19 spokesman Chris Bishop said while the numbers were now high, it had taken too long to get such a high-risk workforce vaccinated.
"It has taken far too long to get to this point. The border vaccination rollout started in February, and here we are in mid-September and there are still 736 who have only had one dose and 485 who are yet to have one. It has not been good enough."
Border workers and MIQ workers were the priority groups for vaccinations after the first vaccine supplies arrived in February.
However, it did not become mandatory until after April, when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said border workers would have to be vaccinated or they would not be able to stay working in their roles.
The first vaccination order only covered border workers employed by the Government, but that was widened in July to include privately employed border workers, including those at ports.
Astrid Koornneef, group manager Covid-19 vaccination operations, said efforts to boost vaccination rates at the ports included pop-up clinics timed to coincide with shift changes, education sessions, and easier booking processes for workers and their families.
Efforts were underway to get the remaining 485 border workers vaccinated – of those 287 are at the ports.
"Any workers not vaccinated after these dates need to discuss options with their employers."
The ministry said some of those were already booked, while others could have had a vaccination but it had not yet been matched to the register.
New workers in border roles must have their first vaccination prior to starting work, and must get the second injection within 35 days – a shorter time period than the six weeks that applies more widely.