At least three firefighters in the Bay of Plenty are on leave from their frontline duties after the Covid-19 vaccination mandate came into play last week.
And a number of police officers nationwide could face the same fate as the mandate comes into force for them.
While the impact this could have on the Bay of Plenty community is not known, staff in the fields say those who do leave will be hard to replace.
The Government's Covid-19 vaccination mandate required all firefighters to get both Covid-19 vaccinations by last Friday, while all police constabulary staff, authorised officers and recruits had to have their first vaccine shot by Monday and their second vaccination dose by March 1.
On Friday it was reported 98 per cent of the 10,500 police staff covered by the mandate have had one vaccination, meaning more than 200 police officers were yet to get their first dose.
A police spokesman said only a small number of staff were stood down in the Bay of Plenty but he declined to provide exact numbers, saying an Official Information Act request would be needed to obtain more details of unvaccinated staff numbers and their stations.
"We will be consulting with these staff members over the next three weeks to consider redeployment options, leave-without-pay options or any application for a medical exemption.
"As an organisation, we support vaccination because it aligns with our goal that our people and communities are safe and feel safe."
Police Association Bay of Plenty Waikato regional director Scott Thompson said he knew some local areas had all staff fully vaccinated.
"Others may be down to 85 per cent. Like every other organisation, even losing one or two staff could have a huge impact not only on the staff member but on future resourcing.
"There are pockets in the country where only one or two staff were unvaccinated, which could mean about one-tenth of the station's staff, others may have as many as five staff."
Thompson said there was always "natural churn" but the potential loss of 200 staff nationwide would be "tragic".
"Particularly losing those working in specialist roles as it would be difficult and quite challenging to replace all that knowledge and experience."
Thompson said he was also deeply concerned about the loss of new recruits as it could mean policing numbers would be "going backwards".
Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) would also not provide localised vaccination rates, citing privacy, but national commander Kerry Gregory said 95.1 per cent of its paid staff and 90.4 per cent of volunteers nationwide were fully vaccinated as of Monday.
Gregory said 0.8 per cent of paid employees and 2.1 per cent of volunteers were partially vaccinated or had not provided their vaccination status.
"Those who are not fully vaccinated will not be responding to incidents, and we are working closely with this group of personnel on the next steps for them."
Gregory said Fenz was confident it would continue to respond and keep communities safe.
Two Western Bay fire chiefs said their brigades had been affected by the mandate. Others referred inquiries to head office.
Katikati chief fire officer Joe Manukau said one of the 26 people in the brigade had opted not to get vaccinated. That person was now on leave from their frontline volunteer duties for three months.
"Ultimately, it comes down to personal choice and if the firefighter maintains their objection to getting vaccinated it will be really sad to have to lose them.
"It may only be one person, but it's very difficult to replace someone with their level of experience, particularly who is so passionate about serving this community."
Maketū chief fire officer Shane Gourlay said two of the brigade's 17 members were impacted by the mandate. Both had personal medical reasons for not getting vaccinated now and had been put on leave for three months.
"If they still decide not to get vaccinated it will be hard to replace them," he said.
"I believe everyone's got to make their own personal choice and it's sad to see any experienced staff go. But it's the Government's mandate and we have to follow the law."
Gourlay said the Maketū brigade had already responded to 15 incidents this year. Last year it responded to 270 callouts, 70 more than in 2020.
Elsewhere, Mayor View Volunteer Fire Brigade chief fire officer Paul Tucker said about 15 per cent of the 32 brigade members were unvaccinated. He would not give a specific number.
"They have been stood down from operational duties but are still able to do some training and administration duties. But next month they'll have to produce a vaccine pass to be able to come into the station."
Tucker said he hoped these volunteers would change their minds and get vaccinated.
"We don't want to lose any of them, even losing one person would mean a huge cost to a voluntary organisation like ours. It would also leave a huge hole in our community.
"This is all about personal choice but consequences come with that choice."
Tucker said at this stage, standing down those staff had not created a major problem but it had put pressure on other staff.