COVID-19: Mandatory vaccinations

Certain roles in health and disability, education and corrections must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Last updated: 11 November 2021

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Why vaccinations are mandatory

Health and disability, education and correctional workforces are key public service sectors that each face particular and different challenges posed by COVID-19. This may be because they work with populations that either are unable to be vaccinated (education and health), are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (health and corrections), or where outbreaks have occurred overseas (correctional facilities).

While each workforce has its own particular set of risk factors, vaccination is a vital measure in common for reducing infection and transmission.

In education, for instance, although New Zealand and international experience indicates classroom teaching presents a low risk of spreading COVID-19, vaccination is a highly effective way of further reducing risk when used together with ventilation measures, staying home if sick (and getting tested), face coverings (where applicable) and physical distancing.

Considering the important roles these workers undertake and the population groups they work with, as well as whānau and members of the wider community, it is therefore critical for staff working in these key sectors to be vaccinated. While most people in these sectors have already been vaccinated, complete protection across these sectors is critical to the country’s successful management of COVID-19.

Health and disability sector

While the amended COVID-19 Vaccination Order does not list specific types of practitioners that are included, it does include roles and physical settings that are covered. This includes:

  • health practitioners
  • workers who work in close proximity to health practitioners providing services to members of the public (for example, reception and administration staff in general practice, shop assistants in community pharmacies)
  • workers employed or engaged by certified providers, which includes workers at a facility providing hospital care, rest home care, residential disability care or fertility services (for example, anyone working in a hospital setting such as laundry staff, orderly, administration staff, or rest home staff like kitchen and cleaning staff)
  • care and support workers who are employed or engaged to carry out work that includes going to the home or place of resident of another person (including those living in the home or place of residence of a family member) to provide care and support services funded by the Ministry of Health, a DHB or ACC.

Refer to the list below of health practitioners. The listed roles are all required to be vaccinated.

Everyone else is not a health practitioner, so whether they fall under the order or not will depend on whether:

  • they carry out work where health services are provided to members of the public by one or more health practitioners (listed below) and whose role involves being within two metres or less of a health practitioner or a member of the public for a period of 15 minutes or more
  • they work in a facility that is certified by HealthCERT (hospitals, rest homes, residential care facilities, fertility facilities)
  • they are a care and support worker, as defined in the order.
Professions regulated under the HPCA Act 2003


Responsible authority


Chiropractic Board

Dentistry, dental hygiene, clinical dental technology,
dental technology, dental therapy and oral health therapy

Dental Council


Dietitians Board

Medical laboratory science, anaesthetic technology

Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand

Medical imaging and radiation therapy

Medical Radiation Technologists Board


Medical Council of New Zealand


Midwifery Council


Nursing Council of New Zealand

Occupational therapy

Occupational Therapy Board

Optometry and optical dispensing

Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board


Osteopathic Council


Paramedic Council


Pharmacy Council


Physiotherapy Board


Podiatrists Board


Psychologists Board


Psychotherapists Board

Guidance document for PCBUs and workers

When health and disability staff must be vaccinated

Any health and disability workers (employed or voluntary, private and public) who fall under these roles must receive their first dose of the vaccine by 11.59pm 15 November 2021. They must receive their second dose by 1 January 2022.

Healthcare and disability workers have been prioritised for vaccination against COVID-19 since March 2021.

Corrections sector

It is mandatory for certain roles in the corrections sector to be fully vaccinated, including:

  • all staff who work in prisons
  • health care staff working in prisons
  • psychologists working in prisons and the community
  • many contracted providers and people who provide services in prisons
  • all other regulated professions currently registered under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act regulations.

Private visitors such as family members, statutory visitors to prisons such as the Ombudsman and legal advisors will not be covered by the Order.

When corrections staff must be vaccinated

Any corrections workers (employed or voluntary, private and public) who fall under these roles must receive their first dose of the vaccine by 11.59pm 6 November 2021. They must receive their second dose by 11.59pm 8 December 2021.

Education sector

It is mandatory for certain roles in the education sector to be fully vaccinated.

Who the mandatory order includes

Workers over the age of 12 years who carry out work at or for an affected education service (including as a volunteer worker or an unpaid worker) and who either: 

  • may have contact with children or students while carrying out the work
  • will be present at the affected education service at a time when children or students are also present.

Volunteers and paid or unpaid workers at:

  • early childhood services (other than playgroups), which are either:
    • early childhood education and care centres:
      • a free kindergarten that is an early childhood service whose licence permits no child to attend for a period of more than 4 hours on any day
      • any other early childhood service that is declared to be an early childhood education and care service by regulations made under the Education and Training Act
      • home-based education and care services that provide education or care, (for gain or reward) to children who are under the age of 5 years, or who are aged 5 years but not enrolled at school, in the children’s own home, the home of the person providing the education or care, or any other home nominated by a parent of the children. Every person 12 years of age and over in the home where the home-based education and care service is provided needs to be vaccinated.
    • hospital-based education and care services that provides education or care to 3 or more children under the age of 6 years who are receiving hospital care within the meaning of section 4(1) of the Health and Disability Services (Safety) Act 2001.
  • registered schools, which are either state schools, state integrated schools or private schools
  • hostels, which are boarding establishments used mainly or solely for the accommodation of students enrolled at a registered school
  • OSCAR providers who are working for or at a school.

Who the mandatory order does not include

It does not cover tertiary institutions or people that work within them. It also does not include workers at playgroups. Playgroups are groups that meet on a regular basis to facilitate children’s play where:

  • no child attends for more than four hours on any day
  • more than half of the children attending on any occasion have a parent or caregiver present in the same play area at the same time
  • the total number of children attending on any occasion is not greater than four times the number of parents and caregivers present in the same play area at the same time.

When education staff must be vaccinated

Any education worker who falls under these roles must receive their first dose of the vaccine by 11.59pm 15 November 2021. They must receive their second dose by 11.59pm 1 January 2022. 

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