COVID-19 vaccination mandate decision for police 'imminent' - Poto Williams

A decision on mandating COVID-19 vaccination for police is "imminent", according to Police Minister Poto Williams. 

"The mandating? We are working on that with other ministers right now and decisions on that are imminent, very soon," she told reporters when asked for an update. 

"They're very soon, so alongside other ministers, we have to make decisions, but that won't be far away. I've already been on record as wanting to keep the police safe."

The Government has already mandated vaccination for border workers, health workers, education staff and customer-facing personnel such as hospitality - about 40 percent of the workforce so far.  

The deadline for education staff to have had their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine was on Monday, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was unaware of any schools seeking an exemption for staff. 

Education Minister Chris Hipkins told The AM Show on Wednesday there were "about less than a dozen schools that the Ministry of Education are working very closely with that are having more issues than others". 

"That's not to say other schools haven't had to juggle things but most schools have been able to manage this," Hipkins said. 

"Across the health sector and across the education sector we've had really, really good levels of uptake. The latest report I had from DHBs was down to about 2 to 3 percent at most of all of the DHB staff who hadn't been fully vaccinated. That's a really high vaccination rate across District Health Boards."

Vaccine mandates have been a particularly contentious issue for the Government. An estimated 2000 people marched on Parliament last week demanding the mandates be repealed, and MPs have revealed death threats from anti-vaxxers

The latest Ministry of Health data shows there are still 57,625 eligible people yet to receive a first dose of the vaccine for DHBs to reach 90 percent. The highest is in Northland, where 11,758 people have yet to receive a dose.