Government not ruling out mandating COVID-19 vaccinations in construction, other industries

The Government isn't ruling out mandating COVID-19 vaccinations in the construction sector as the race to 90 percent heats up, and the COVID-19 Response Minister is eyeing other industries too. 

Come next year, all tradies working on a renovation job at Ridgway School will need to be double-vaccinated to be on the site, because they're working around children. But the setor wants a mega mandate - all jabbed no matter the site, no matter the trade. 

"A mandate would just make things much safer and better for everyone else involved," Registered Master Builders CEO David Kelly told Newshub. 

The risk of one single COVID-19 case on a building site is too high and some tradies visit multiple sites a week. 

"If someone contracts on a site they may have to shut down the whole site. The industry is already under a huge amount of pressure with work," Kelly said. 

On Tuesday, the Government mandated vaccines for all staff at businesses that may use vaccine certificates - like bars, restaurants, hairdressers and gyms. The construction sector could be next. 

"In this case I wouldn't rule them in or out. It is certainly a possibility," COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said on Wednesday. 

On Tuesday, 42,136 needles went in arms across Aotearoa - 12,000 in Auckland, 2855 of which were first doses. In Auckland's race to the red light, Counties Manukau needs 9904 more jabs to hit 90 percent first jabs. Across all three Auckland DHBs, 177,485 more are needed to get to 90 percent fully vaxxed.

A milestone was reached on Wednesday with 3 million Kiwis now fully vaccinated. 

Mandates are an extra push and the Government is mulling over more but won't say who is next jab off the rank.

Currently cops aren't covered despite their close contact. In fact, Police Minister Poto Williams doesn't even know how many police have been infected. 

"I'm sorry, I don't know that number. I don't know if there have been or not," she said. 

The Police Minister hasn't asked. 

"I haven't, I've asked about vaccinations," she said. 

The one missing element here is our proof of vaccination. Vaccine certificates are due to launch next month and for the foreseeable future we'll need them to go to cafes, sports games, weddings, and the hairdresser.

The Government has promised it'll be temporary but won't say if temporary is a matter of weeks, months or years.