More than 200 staff at Hawke's Bay District Health Board remained unvaccinated, just days before they have to comply to keep their jobs.
On October 11, the Government announced that workers in the health and disability sector will be required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 before the close of January 1, 2022, and must have received their first vaccination by November 16.
Figures of vaccinated staff, as of November 8, show 93 per cent of staff at the DHB have received their first doses, and 89 per cent have received both doses, with the figure likely to increase.
The DHB was middle of the pack - 10 out of 20 - for its percentage of vaccinated staff.
As of June 2021, 3538 people were employed at the DHB, which would mean about 245 people remain unvaccinated.
Hawke's Bay DHB referred Hawke's Bay Today to Technical Advisory Services regarding staff vaccinations and TAS stressed that extrapolation from the June 2021 figures would be an approximate and that DHBs were working hard to implement the Order. (TAS Services works with leaders and practitioners who plan, commission and deliver health and social care)
Tukituki MP Anna Lorck said the focus was on getting everyone vaccinated and she wanted to thank the "overwhelming majority of HBDHB staff" who had been vaccinated as the DHB worked hard to protect Hawke's Bay in the face of Delta.
"Despite this, we can't leave anything to chance – that's why we are making it mandatory" for healthcare and education staff," she said.
"It's not an easy decision, but we need the people who work with vulnerable communities who haven't yet been vaccinated to take this extra step."
She said children under 12 can't yet get vaccinated, but could still get Covid.
"Having health workers vaccinated means that people who are sick can have that extra layer of protection. Vaccine requirements have been used commonly overseas and they work.
"We now also have AstraZeneca as an option for workers who can't have the Pfizer vaccine or who are not willing to have an mRNA vaccine like Pfizer.
"Frontline health teams are working incredibly hard and will continue to do so. I'm sure that over the weekend we will continue to see hundreds more people roll up their sleeves."
The Covid-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order is explicit that no health practitioner can perform their role from November 16 if they are not vaccinated (subject to a medical exemption or Ministerial exception being granted).
Staff will be stood down from Monday unless they have a medical exemption or are subject to an exception.
Given the high levels of DHB staff vaccinations, DHBs are confident any impacts on service delivery, following the stand down of any unvaccinated staff, can be managed appropriately to ensure continuity of patient care.
DHB spokeswoman Rosemary Clements said the percentage of staff across all DHBs who had at least one vaccination was around 95 per cent, with those known to be fully vaccinated at around 90 per cent.
Clements said DHBs were having ongoing discussions with staff who were not vaccinated.
DHBs were confident any impacts on healthcare provision following the stand down of any unvaccinated staff would be managed appropriately, she said.