The Government is not considering making Covid vaccinations mandatory for all Kiwis but may require some teachers to have it, the Deputy Prime Minister says.
"Moving to a mandate is not a New Zealand way," Grant Robertson told television programme Breakfast.
However, with early childhood centres set to open tomorrow in a limited capacity and children under 12 currently unable to be vaccinated, the Education Ministry was considering whether teachers should be required to get the shot, Robertson said.
NZ Educational Institute president Liam Rutherford told Mike Yardley on Newstalk ZB said teachers had not been among professions given priority access to vaccines.
That meant there are some teachers that aren't vaccinated and would be around children.
He wasn't sure of the vaccination rates amongst the school sector as it wasn't recorded per occupation, but he encouraged everyone out there to get vaccinated.
Early childcare teacher Imogen Held told Breakfast of her shock at yesterday's announcement that ECE centres would open again tomorrow.
"My stomach dropped. I feel real fear for my colleagues."
Some colleagues would feel uneasy about going back to work, especially if they are in an alert 3 environment or if they have a vulnerable person within their family, she said.
Held said there are "rogue" employers, who may not be as forthcoming in sticking to new rules, such as keeping children in separate bubbles.
Some ECE employers made it a rule that teachers are not allowed to wear masks, for example, she said.
Rutherford agreed there are some ECE staff keen to get back in there and others who are concerned about whether there were adequate health and safety measures in place.
There was a lot of "nervousness" around the businesses reopening that "health and safety won't be number one".
There is a bit of confusion when the announcement came out that it was "opening up the floodgates", but it was just bubbles of 10, he said.
As for children under 12 wearing masks, he said some schools may opt to do that.
Some may shake their head at it but the more that are wearing them the safer it will be - however it wasn't something "worth pushing that hard", Rutherford said.
Robertson said Auckland still needed to be in level 3 in the meantime.
"We want to make sure we have strong restrictions in place."
But what officials wanted to do, he said, was recognise the hard work that Aucklanders have done over the last few weeks.
"You have been doing it tough and these are safe measures that give you a little bit of respite."