COVID-19: Government extends vaccine mandate to all prison staff

The Government has extended its COVID-19 vaccine mandate to cover all staff working in New Zealand's prisons. 

It will include all psychologists across the organisation and many contractors that service prisons. 

The requirement will not apply to people visiting prisoners, like family and friends. 

Staff who work in prisons have been given until October 30 to have their first dose and must have their second dose by December 1. 

In an email sent to staff by acting Corrections chief executive Topia Rameka, he said the decision had been made to improve staff safety.  

"Internationally many prison staff and prisoners have become very unwell and have died as a result of COVID-19 outbreaks in prison. A COVID-19 outbreak would also disproportionately affect Māori in our prisons."

Topia Rameka also indicated in the email staff who refuse to follow the vaccine order may lose their position at Corrections. 

"We envisage there may be employment implications for affected employees who are not fully vaccinated by 1 December, as they may be unable to be employed in their current roles," Rameka said. 

The Order will not apply to people who work on prison farms, or to building work "outside the wire".