Changes to the COVID-19 Protection Framework
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. The details of this can be found at https://covid19.govt.nz/next-phase-of-our-covid-19-response/. The most significant changes for nurses relate to vaccination and mask-wearing requirements.
Current vaccination requirements (the ‘vaccine mandate’) will end at 11:59pm on 26 September 2022. After that, the Government will no longer require any health practitioner to be vaccinated before they can practise. Until that time the current requirements remain in place, and unvaccinated nurses are not able to practise in most settings.
However, individual employers and organisations are still permitted to maintain their own vaccination requirements after 26 September. An aged care facility, for example, might still require its nurses to be vaccinated to protect the health of their residents, or a primary health clinic might still require staff to be vaccinated to protect its clients. This means that if you are not vaccinated you may not be able to work for some employers.
The Nursing Council will retain our vaccination requirements for those members of our staff who investigate complaints and other fitness to practise matters. You can be assured that participating in any of our processes will not increase your risk of contracting COVID-19.*
Although mask-wearing is in general no longer compulsory, the Government does still require masks to be worn in many healthcare and disability support settings. Individual employers may also choose to require mask-wearing on their premises. If you are not comfortable with wearing masks, you should discuss this with your employer or professional association.
Up to date guidance on where mask-wearing is required can be found on the Ministry of Health website, but at this point includes:
- Primary care facilities.
- Urgent care, including after-hours clinics and accident and emergency.
- Pharmacies other than those located within supermarkets.
- Aged residential care facilities.
- Disability-related residential care facilities.
At this time, the Government does not require masks to be worn for psychotherapy, counselling, or mental health and addiction service premises, or for residents of residential care facilities.
The Nursing Council strongly supports vaccination as the most effective way of keeping COVID-19 under control, reducing harm to the public, and minimising the impact of the disease on your nursing colleagues and the health system as a whole.
*This news item was amended on 19 September to include reference to the Council’s ongoing vaccination requirements for fitness to practise staff.