She's been a midwife for more than three decades and delivered countless babies but on Monday Janet Taiatini is throwing in the towel.
Taiatini, who has worked at the Lakes District Health Board in Rotorua since 2006, is not willing to be vaccinated.
The Government's mandatory vaccination order requires all health practitioners and all workers in close proximity to health practitioners providing services to members of the public to have received their first Covid-19 vaccine by November 15.
Taiatini is one of 34 midwives working for the health board, which also includes Taupō, and she knows of one other also leaving due to the mandate.
Taiatini has rejected the vaccine on the belief not enough research has been conducted.
The Government says scientists had a head start on developing the Pfizer vaccine due to prior research on similar viruses, and the vaccine was developed quickly and safely.
Taiatini's comments come as new data shows about 4 per cent of the Lakes District Health Board's staff have not yet had the first dose, a few days out from the "no jab, no job" deadline.
The percentage equates to 61 staff.
Technical Advisory Services - an organisation representing district health boards - released nationwide DHB staff vaccination data on Wednesday.
Nationwide, as of Monday, about 95 per cent of clinical and non-clinical staff had received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 90 per cent were fully vaccinated. That left 5 per cent of the roughly 80,000-strong workforce, or about 4000 staff yet to get vaccinated.
The Lakes DHB had one of the highest rates of double-vaccinated staff in the country, at 94.5 per cent. It came only behind Auckland's three health boards; Auckland at 95.4 per cent, Waitematā at 95.7 per cent and Counties Manukau at 94.71 per cent.
In the Lakes DHB, which covers Rotorua and Taupō, 95.9 per cent of staff had received one dose.
The board says it is "confident" any impact on patient care can be "managed appropriately" after any unvaccinated staff are stood down, due to the high levels of staff vaccinations.
DHB spokeswoman Rosemary Clements said DHBs were having "ongoing discussions" with staff who were not vaccinated.
This included clinical and non-clinical staff.
The data was accurate as of November 8, and the percentages for vaccinated staff were increasing, she said.
Taiatini felt she could not fulfil her duty as a midwife under the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.
She said midwives advocated for women's choices and supported what women and whānau wanted to do. She felt the vaccine mandate had not given midwives the opportunity to do this.
Taiatini said she would consider receiving a different vaccine but under the current circumstances she felt she must leave.
She said standing down was not her choice and she had offered to work elsewhere in the healthcare system or have weekly Covid-19 tests. These had been declined and Taiatini is yet to find a suitable option for her own redeployment.
"Maybe it's time to look at other options."
Taiatini ultimately wished for there to be no vaccine mandate on healthcare workers.
Midwife Employee Representation and Advisory Service co-leader Jill Ovens said the Lakes DHB would be negatively affected by Taitiani's decision. With only 34 midwives, it could not afford to lose employees.
"There are severe shortages of midwives throughout the country so we cannot afford to lose any, especially as there have been major problems with midwives returning to New Zealand to work."
However, Ovens clarified midwives leaving "won't affect pregnant women as the DHBs will continue to provide maternity services through their hard-working midwives".
She believed very few midwives were likely to be stood down due to the mandate as they were among the most vaccinated at the Lakes DHB. The majority had been vaccinated since April and were waiting for a booster shot.
Regardless of the risk of losing much-needed staff, Lakes DHB chief executive Nick Saville-Wood said they must implement the legislation as a Government mandate.
"Lakes DHB strongly endorses vaccination as the best way to protect our staff, patients and communities and to reduce the risk of our health services being overwhelmed with Covid cases."
For midwives being stood down, options are being considered including early parental leave, leave until other vaccination options are made available, working remotely and early retirement as a third of midwives nationally are over 55.
The vaccine mandate, which also applies to education workers, has caused some division.
Murupara Medical Centre will be reducing services from next week due to the Government's mandatory vaccination order.
Two of the centre's four GPs have announced they will be providing only telehealth services from Tuesday.
Rangiuru School, east of Tauranga, is set to lose its principal, a teacher and three other staff members due to the mandate. Three teachers will remain at the full primary school, which has 85 students.
Tauranga early childhood centre Nestlings Preschool is shutting due to the mandate, with the founder saying the centre could no longer operate "under these current conditions".
- Samantha Carter is a journalism student at Massey University.