Tetraplegic woman reliant on carers fears 'no jab, no job' policy will force skilled workers out of 'understaffed' industry

The deadline is looming for caregivers to get their first vaccination and it's making some of those who rely upon them feel helpless.

The 'no jab, no job' health order requires this workforce to be fully vaccinated by January 2022, but that won't be enough time for Teina Boyd and her unvaccinated carers.

The Tauranga-based tetraplegic is reliant on her caregivers 24/7 and is fearing the worst.

"I struggle to understand how the Government can get a mandate on health care providers, which is already amazingly understaffed," she tells The Hui.

"As much as I'm very pro-vaccine when it comes down to it, if I have to choose between having vaccinated carers or having skilled, passionate carers who can help me make my basic needs to survive, there's a clear winner for me."

Boyd has six carers that help her function and live life as best she can, but the shortage of caregivers in the industry has been a real problem for her since her accident in 2014. Two of her current team are unvaccinated and losing them will put Boyd in a precarious position.

Teina Boyd.
Teina Boyd. Photo credit: The Hui

"I won't have the skill on my team necessary to give me the quality of life I currently have. I doubt I'll even have the skill on the team to be able to keep my body going. They're two passionate and very skilled carers, which are things you don't find in this industry."

Boyd is vaccinated and knows how deadly it could be if she contracted COVID-19, but she would've preferred the Government to engage with the disability sector first before implementing these sweeping mandates.

"If I lose these two amazing carers, I won't be able to replace them. There's nothing out there, and with COVID shutting down our borders, we've had no immigrants to apply for these positions either," Boyd says.

"It really does make life hard for us, and it makes people like my carers who will be unemployed next week absolute diamonds in the rough."

Made with support from Te Māngai Pāho and NZ On Air.

Tetraplegic woman reliant on carers fears 'no jab, no job' policy will force skilled workers out of 'understaffed' industry