About 1400 NZ school teachers refuse vaccination against covid-19

Ban on unvaccinated NZ teachers
Since November 16, unvaccinated staff have been banned from New Zealand schools and early learning centres. Image: Richard Tindiller/RNZ

By John Gerritsen, RNZ News education reporter

New Zealand Education Ministry figures indicate just 2.4 percent of school teachers — about 1400 people — have refused the covid vaccination.

The ministry said responses from 94 percent of schools indicated nearly 98 percent of teachers and 95 percent of other staff were vaccinated.

Official figures showed there were 62,600 teachers working in state and state integrated schools, last year and a further 9000 relief teachers so a vaccination rate of nearly 98 percent would translate to more than 1400 unvaccinated teachers.

The ministry warned that its figures were not definitive.

Tai Tokerau had the lowest reported vaccination rates at 93 percent, indicating the region had about 100 teachers refusing the jabs.

Schools in Bay of Plenty and Waiariki reported a vaccination rate of 96 percent for teachers, while Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast and Taranaki, Manawatū, Whanganui reported rates just under 97 percent.

The ministry said Wellington had the highest vaccination rate for registered teachers at 98.3 percent, followed by Canterbury/Chatham Islands, Auckland and Otago/Southland which all had teacher vaccination rates of at least 98 percent.

The ministry said few schools required its help with staffing as a result of the vaccine mandate.

Since November 16, unvaccinated staff have been banned from schools and early learning centres.

All staff who have contact with children must be fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022.

172 community covid cases

In a statement, the ministry said the new community cases were in Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Lakes and the Nelson/Tasman region.

There were no additional cases to report today in Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki, Wairarapa, Wellington or Canterbury.

There were 10 new cases in Nelson/Tasman today — including one that will be officially added to tomorrow’s figures. This takes the number of active cases in the region to 14.

The ministry reported 86 cases in hospital, including nine in intensive care. The average age of the patients in hospital is 45.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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