A welcome change of direction away from mandatory vaccinations

There is a welcome change of direction in the government announcement yesterday that Aucklanders will be able to leave the city to travel around the country from mid-December by showing they are double vaccinated OR by producing a negative covid test within 72 hours of leaving.

It’s a sensible, safe, people-first approach. I think the same approach should be taken for teachers in schools, healthcare workers in hospitals as well as anyone wanting to visit a bar or restaurant, attend a concert or get their hair cut. If an unvaccinated person can show they do not have Covid then they should be able to do anything a vaccinated person (who could be infected but it won’t be checked) can do.

He waka eke noa.

We are all in this together and we should be a team of five million rather than an exclusive club for the majority who choose to be vaccinated. It makes no sense to exclude anyone from any freedom enjoyed by others if they can prove they don’t have covid. The priority must be to keep the community safe rather than limit the freedoms of those who can prove they are safe to move around the community but decided, for whatever reason, not to be vaccinated.

It was good to see Air New Zealand decide some time back to take a similar approach to the government for people wanting to fly. You must either show you are vaccinated OR that you have had a negative covid test in the 72 hours before flying. Unfortunately, Air New Zealand is not applying this policy to the airline workers they employ. Nonsensical.

I can understand the government’s focus on encouraging everyone to get vaccinated. It is the only way we have to prevent our health system from getting overwhelmed and therefore it will save lives. That’s the reason I am vaccinated.

However, it’s deeply worrying to hear and read comments like “I don’t want any unvaccinated teachers at my kid’s school” or “All frontline workers must be vaccinated”.

Surely ALL teachers and ALL workers must be able to show they are covid free when they turn up to work. Shouldn’t that be the FIRST priority rather than whether an individual is vaccinated or not?


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