Coronavirus: Unclear how many border workers will move off frontline once new vaccine rule takes effect

Border workers have until the end of the month to get the COVID-19 vaccine or they'll be transferred off the frontline.

But the Government still won't say exactly how many border workers it has, how many haven't been vaccinated, or even how many are refusing it.

"If there is not an option to redeploy them [off the frontline] then it will be up to the employer to work out what happens with that individual, but they cannot work in MIQ," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.

But it's unclear how many workers could be moved, 52 days after the start of the vaccine rollout. Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield admitted he doesn't yet have the exact number of border workers who are yet to be vaccinated.

The Government has managed a headcount of MIQ workers. Ardern says there are 4010 and 538 are yet to get the jab.

"Some people do have legitimate questions about the vaccine, for example, if they have pre-existing health conditions," Ardern says.

Newshub revealed last week the Government didn't know precisely how many border workers in total it had. They now think it's about 20,000 all up.

Ardern says the "vast majority" of border workers have been vaccinated.

Despite not knowing how many there are, Dr Bloomfield says they've all been offered a dose.

"Everybody working at the border has been offered and has had the opportunity to receive that first vaccine."

Though some are point-blank refusing.

"There will be some people in our frontline border staff, as there are in every part of society, who have got a very clear belief that they don't want the vaccine," he said.

In late March the Ministry of Health reported 28 border workers had refused the vaccine. Now it's lost count.

"The rule should be if you're vaccinated, you can work at the frontline and if you're not vaccinated, you can't work at the frontline. That should be in place right now," says Chris Bishop, the National Party's COVID-19 response spokesperson.

The border is where we're most vulnerable since it's the only way COVID-19 can sneak in.

A basic stocktake of how many workers there are and how many haven't been vaccinated isn't too much for the public to ask.