Government's plan to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for teachers met with pushback

The Government hasn't even announced it yet, but there's already pushback over a plan to vaccinate every educator.

Teachers are having the COVID-19 vaccination forced on them because children can't get them... yet. It comes as the United States Food and Drug Administration considers approving the jab for 5-11 year olds. 

It's a bit empty at Peekabo daycare these days but Michelle Bosh's phone has been running off the hook.

"I've had parents on the phone yelling at me when they haven't been able to have a space," she told Newshub. 

They want to know why bubble restrictions means she doesn't have room for their child, and if her staff are vaccinated.

"They of course all want to know. That's private information for my teachers so somewhere we need some clarification as to what we can actually do."

Newshub revealed on Thursday that the Government plans to mandate vaccinations for every single educator working with children.

"We'd like to know - a head's up so that we can have some input to that and start preparing our services, '' says Sue Kurtovich, a specialist in early childhood centre management and administration. 

There's already pushback. A petition was launched on Thursday and has more than 5900 signatures, including one from a pregnant educator who says she feels "absolutely terrified about the prospect" and believes those who are not comfortable being vaccinated have real reasons.

"I would hope that teachers are in this industry, and I know my staff are certainly very passionate about their jobs and they're here for that," says Bosch. "I don't see that a vaccine would tip many people out of the industry."

But even if every adult at the school is vaccinated some parents want to keep their children home until kids can be too.

"I just feel like we're kind of throwing them under a bus and it should be parental choice whether or not to expose your child to the risk of catching COVID," says Cleo Tibbits. 

But those aged 5 to 11 could be soon, with Pfizer officially asking the FDA for approval, meaning more than 28 million kids in the United States could be eligible for a jab by Halloween.

"We go through our own process that involves Medsafe, getting data from Pfizer then we also on top of that use a clinical advisory and a specialist advisory group," says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. 

"It's going to be, I think, a really important thing," says National's COVID-19 spokesperson Chris Bishop. "But we've got to make sure we're ready to go and we should be doing it in schools."

Medsafe told Newshub it was waiting for Pfizer to submit an application and when it does, it'll be a priority. Newshub also understands that could happen by the end of the year, and when it does, we're good to go. 

The Prime Minister said this week we have more than enough supply because kids need just a third of a vile of the vaccine.