Covid-19: 1,300 unvaccinated health workers withdrew from DHB


Just over 1,300 unvaccinated health workers have been laid off so far across the country after the Covid-19 vaccine mandate came into effect.

At 9 a.m. on Wednesday, 1,309 staff members had been made redundant because they had not received their first vaccination against Covid-19 by the deadline for the first dose of 11:59 p.m. on Monday. During this time, more than 80,000 district health council workers have been vaccinated.

Of those dismissed, 463 are nurses and at least 67 are midwives, according to data released by district health boards.

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Tom Lee / Stuff

Just over 1,300 health workers have been made redundant across the country, after the mandate deadline for the first dose on Monday. This is a very small proportion of all health workers.

Waikato DHB had the highest number of laid-off employees among DHB 20, with 154 Wednesday morning. Of these, 65 were nurses, 10 were midwives and nine were official or licensed physicians.

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In the three Auckland DHBs, 283 employees were made redundant: 96 at Waitematā DHB; 68 to Auckland DHB and 119 to Manukau counties DHB.

In Waitematā, this includes 22 nurses, 15 senior or licensed physicians and six midwives.

Twenty nurses and three chief medical officers were among those dismissed in Auckland DHB, and 47 nurses, 10 midwives and four doctors in Manukau counties.

Five of the 20 DHBs had more than 100 laid-off employees, including DHB Northland, Bay of Plenty and Nelson / Marlborough.

The Bay of Plenty DHB saw 123 staff members withdraw on Wednesday morning, including 42 nurses, four chief medical officers and six midwives.

At the Nelson / Marlborough DHB, 110 unvaccinated staff members have been registered, including 33 nurses.

In the three DHBs in the Greater Wellington region (Capital & Coast; Hutt Valley and Wairarapa), 126 staff, including 49 nurses, were made redundant.

As of Wednesday morning, only six employees were made redundant at the Wairarapa DHB – including four nurses – the lowest recorded across the country.

The number of employees resigned in DHBs in the center of the North Island varied on Wednesday.

Unvaccinated DHB staff will be supported to be redeployed or encouraged to be vaccinated.

MARK TAYLOR / Tips

Unvaccinated DHB staff will be supported to be redeployed or encouraged to be vaccinated.

Forty-two had been withdrawn from service at Lakes DHB; 23 in Tairawhiti; 54 in Taranaki; 51 in Hawke’s Bay; 30 in Whanganui and 43 in MidCentral.

In Te Waipounamu, 10 staff had been made redundant in West Coast DHB, seven in South Canterbury and 69 in Southern DHB – the latter comprising 28 nurses, four senior doctors and six midwives.

In Canterbury, 79 staff (or 2 percent of the workforce) had been made redundant, including 23 nurses and four doctors.

It is important to note that unvaccinated health workers constitute by far the minority of health professionals across the country.

In October, more than 6,500 health workers signed their names in favor of vaccination against Covid-19 – which is part of a grassroots group called Doctors Stand Up For Vaccination.

DHB Senior Executive Director Rosemary Clements said DHBs continue to consult with unvaccinated staff to answer any questions, discuss other options such as redeployment, support them throughout the process and encourage them to consider getting vaccinated.

If staff choose to be vaccinated while they are away, they can return to DHB.

Clements said the impact caused by staff removal would vary between DHBs and that “mitigations” were in place where needed to minimize disruption – including a “careful list” and “close monitoring” of any areas where there might be staff shortages.

Early next week, boards of health would be able to provide an update on the number of employees leaving DHBs due to their non-vaccination, she said.

To date, more than 3.81 million New Zealanders (91 percent of the eligible population) have received their first dose of the vaccine and 3.44 million (82 percent) are fully immunized.


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