Guidance statement

COVID-19 vaccine and your professional responsibility

22 June 2021

From Sunday  26 September 2022 the Government no longer requires nurses to follow the mandatory vaccination requirements. The Nursing Council is maintaining this page as a historical record only. Please note that an individual employer might still have vaccination requirements and is permitted to ask about your vaccination status. If you are not vaccinated we recommend that you discuss this with any potential employers.

Vaccination is a crucial part of the New Zealand public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Health practitioners can help to protect themselves, their patients, and the wider community by getting their COVID-19 vaccination.

The Nursing Council strongly recommends that all practising nurses take up the opportunity to be vaccinated—unless medically contraindicated.

You have an ethical and professional obligation to protect and promote the health of patients and the public, and to participate in community health efforts. Vaccination will play a critical role in protecting the health of the New Zealand public by reducing the community risk of acquiring and transmitting COVID-19.

Patients are entitled to information that a reasonable consumer, in that consumer’s circumstances, would expect to receive (Right 6, Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights).

As a health practitioner, you have a role in providing evidence-based advice and information about the COVID-19 vaccination to others. You should be prepared to discuss evidence-based information about vaccination and its benefits to assist informed decision making. There is information on the Ministry of Health (MoH) website to support engagement with staff or colleagues and the public who may be hesitant about getting a vaccine.

As a regulator we respect an individual’s right to have their own opinions, but it is the Council’s  view that there is no place for anti-vaccination messages in professional health practice, nor any promotion of anti- vaccination claims including on social media and advertising by health practitioners.

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