Revealed: 1.8 pct of all DHB workers off the job after refusing COVID-19 vaccine

An update shows 1.8 percent of all DHB workers have been stood down, resigned or had their employment terminated after refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to data from Monday November 22, out of a workforce of around 80,000 a total of 1028 people have been stood down, 92 staff have resigned, and 341 have lost their jobs. This includes 52 doctors, 518 nurses and 90 midwives.

As a result of the Government's COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order, health workers had until 11:59pm on November 15 to receive their first COVID-19 vaccination.

The vaccine is vital in preventing people from passing on the coronavirus, and reduces the severity of illness and hospitalisation for those who do get infected with it. Those who refuse to get vaccinated put themselves and the people they care for at risk.

In a statement, lead DHB CE Rosemary Clements says that DHBs continue to work with unvaccinated staff members who are stood down to discuss other options such as redeployment and encourage them to consider vaccination.

"If staff choose to be vaccinated while they are stood down, they will be able to return to their DHB."

Clements says that DHBs have terminated the employment of staff where no other alternative or redeployment options can be found.

"This step has been taken when staff have confirmed that they will not be vaccinated. DHBs are complying fully with all employment law requirements and we have engaged and agreed with health sector unions on the processes we are following," she says.

"Service delivery impacts will vary between DHBs and mitigations are in place where needed to minimise any impact to services. These include careful staff rostering, and close monitoring of any areas where there may be some staff shortage. Our absolute focus is on ensuring continuity of patient care."

Of those stood down, 51 staff are awaiting an AstraZeneca vaccination. Some staff will also be waiting for the outcome of applications for medical exemptions.

The next DHB update will be provided in early December.