More than 2600 workers have been stood down across the Government's sectors mandated to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Vaccination is mandatory for workers across several sectors: border, health, education, police, Defence Force, Corrections, Fire and Emergency, and close contact businesses that operate vaccine certificates under the traffic light system.
The health sector is one of the most impacted, with 1461 workers affected across the 20 District Health Boards (DHBs), according to the latest update on December 23.
In total, 226 people had been stood down, 140 staff had resigned, and 814 had their employment terminated. It included 44 doctors, 418 nurses and 72 midwives. Some were awaiting the outcome of applications for medical exemptions.
Fire and Emergency has also been hit by the mandates, with around 945 unvaccinated staff and volunteers currently not responding to incidents.
While the exact figure has not been provided to Newshub, a spokesperson said around 7 percent of the 13,500 workers covered by the mandate were no longer attending incidents.
"Those who have not had their first and second COVID-19 vaccinations are not responding to incidents. We are working closely with this group of people on what the next steps are for them," the spokesperson said.
As for police, 58 staff had been stood down, as of February 21.
"We have entered into consultation with these staff members," Superintendent Russell Le Prou, Director COVID Resilience, told Newshub.
"We recognise that this is a difficult situation for our staff and we acknowledge and respect their right to make a decision about vaccination that feels right for them."
Corrections had stood down 78 staff, as of December 8.
"There have been no further terminations and we are currently working through a process to ensure that all staff covered by the mandate have their booster as required," a spokesperson said.
The Defence Force had stood down 120 staff, as of February 4.
"We are working with each individual on their options and support is being provided," a spokesperson said.
Only two border workers have been sacked, while 12 staff are due for a booster, and 10 are being followed up, according to Jo Pugh, manager of Border Worker Compliance at the Ministry of Health.
"The border workforce, which includes people working at ports, airports and in MIQ facilities, has very high levels of compliance with the vaccine mandates," Pugh told Newshub, highlighting the 99.9 percent vaccination rate across the active border workforce.
The number of teachers stood down is not as transparent because school boards, as the employers of teachers and support staff, hold personal employment information and the Ministry of Education does not require them to ask why someone may be leaving their role, including their vaccine status.
The Ministry of Education did survey schools and kura in December 2021 for a voluntary check-in but the national response rate was only 93.6 percent, meaning we cannot get a full picture.
The survey found that 97.6 percent of registered teachers were vaccinated, compared with 95 percent of teacher aides and 95.5 percent of 'other staff'.
It's also difficult to get a clear picture of how many unvaccinated workers in private close contact businesses have been stood down due to the traffic light system requirements.
But the Restaurant Association has provided a glimpse.
A survey conducted in January found that 40 percent of members reported losing some staff as a result of the vaccination requirement. A total of 464 members responded to the survey and the average number of staff lost was about 1-2.
Vaccine mandates have been highly contentious, leading to a more than two-week protest at Parliament, which at times has become violent.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has signalled the Government's intention to roll back vaccine mandates and passports after the Omicron variant has peaked in roughly three to six weeks.
"At that point, if we follow the pattern of other countries, we'll likely see a rapid decline, followed by cases stabilising at a lower level. That is the point when we can start to do things differently," Ardern said on Monday.
"Vaccine passes were a way of ensuring that within the relatively free system of the traffic lights, that people who were in high-risk places had some layer of protection.
"But once we come through a wave and peak of Omicron, that equation changes because many unvaccinated people will at that point have been exposed to the virus."
Ardern said the mandates will be dropped when it's safe to do so.
"We'll be able to move away from vaccine passes and many mandates because more people will have had COVID," she said from the Beehive.
"When that happens, it will be because easing restrictions won't compromise the lives of thousands of people - not because you demanded it."