The New Zealand government is mulling making Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for the nation’s port workers, a frontline workforce where take-up of doses has been comparatively low to date.
Interviewed by a local radio station, David Parker, New Zealand’s oceans and fisheries minister, said the government is considering if “higher levels of compulsion” are needed to ensure port workers get vaccinated.
Parker said he was not content that only 45% of port workers had been jabbed so far.
“We are considering if there should be higher levels of compulsion or mandatory vaccinations for some people who are most at work, at the ports,” Parker said.
Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins yesterday said he was “not even close” to being satisfied with the rate of port worker vaccination.
“The port workers have the highest unvaccinated rate for our border workforce, that is something I am concerned about,” Hipkins said.
Two foreign seafarers tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival in Auckland earlier this week. Three close contacts of the mariners were identified — a minibus driver, a port pilot, and a customs officer.