Re: COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate
Kia Ora koutou,
As you will be aware the government has given a strong indication that a legislated mandate will require massage therapists, as close contact workers to be double vaccinated, and require clients to prove their vaccination status. The mandatory vaccination order states that health care workers (among others) "are required to have had their first vaccination by the 15 November 2021".
Mandatory vaccinations for workers - See section Health and disability sector vaccinations
Groups of affected persons - See Schedule 1 - Part 3 & Schedule 2 - Part 7.
We have prepared this communication to help you navigate through the mandates, legislation, new traffic light system, and other pertinent information. We acknowledge there has been conflicting information published by different government agencies, causing confusion and frustration. It is not possible for us to explain these inconsistencies, but we do remind you that legislated mandates take precedence.
We have been in constant contact with the Ministry of Health (MoH) via Allied Health Aotearoa New Zealand (AHANZ) to keep appraised. Pursuant to S4 COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021 - massage therapy is included in this vaccination order via 'health service interpretation'.
During a (MoH) presentation on 10 November, it was made clear that regulated?and unregulated health professionals are included in the health order, and any other staff that engage in their practices (for?example,?administration, IT support, cleaners etc.).
They are also clear that it is not their intention to name specific types of practitioners but to respond to issues of health?and safety in locations, and roles/services.?
MoH stated that health and safety is reliant on:
- Ethical and moral duties of providing the best possible care in terms of location and role.
- Health and safety in the workplace - care and support for workers (and their clients) is already written into normal employer responsibilities (Worksafe obligations)
A flow chart from the MoH which outlines whether or not you should be vaccinated is attached with link at the end of this message (See Appendix 1 - Process map of who is covered by the health worker vaccination order)
MNZ member vaccination
Every practising MNZ member should have had their first vaccination by 15th November 2021.
Any new members (applying for RMT status) will have to show proof of vaccination as part of the membership application process and for existing members, a vaccine certificate will have to be shown as part of the renewal process in April 2022.
It is not MNZ's role to enforce compliance under a mandatory health vaccination order. This is the role of the police. Please be aware that if someone makes a complaint then action may be taken.
Traffic light system
When the traffic light system is implemented across the country all workers in close physical contact with the public will be required to be vaccinated. The framework currently states that if green and vaccination certificates are not used then close contact businesses can operate with face coverings for staff and 1m distance between clients. Under orange or red if vaccination certificates are not used then close contact businesses are not able to operate.
There has also been some confusion about different messaging from the COVID-19 website saying massage businesses must remain closed during Level 3.1 and 3.2. We have written to the COVID-19 Response Minister asking for this to be removed as it is obviously contrary to the information from the MoH regarding the Alert Level 3 Guidance for Allied Health Practitioners in Non-DHB Settings (risk assessment flow chart).
The Government has put out an updated guide for those who may be granted exemptions - proof of exemption may also be used at time of membership renewal. Vaccination exemption
Supporting our membership
We wish to support our members and understand this mandate will create conflict (with self and others) and be confronting for some. We ask you to please be kind and compassionate to each other as we work through this. We are aiming to send out an email next week regarding support and avenues of information.
Nga mihi nui,
Helen Smith & Bernie Withington
Co-chairs - firstname.lastname@example.org
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