More than 11,000 employees of Health New Zealand secretly avoided Covid vaccination, despite nationwide mandates and vaccine passports affecting the rest of the population.
This revelation stems from an Official Information Act (OIA) request filed by Erika Whittome of the Number 8 Workers’ Union. Between November 2021 and September 2022, 478 applications for Significant Service Disruption exemptions (SSD) were received, and 103 were granted, covering around 11,005 workers within the national public health service, Te Whatu Ora.
The exemptions were granted based on a provision that allowed workers who couldn’t be replaced without causing significant service disruption to continue working without being vaccinated. This led to public perception that certain ‘elite’ workers were protected from mandates while others were not.
This included senior officials and high-level specialists who may have been more likely to secure exemptions. Over 1,300 unvaccinated healthcare workers were stood down out of a total workforce of approximately 80,000 when Covid mandates came into effect in November 2021.
Many express anger at the secrecy and perceived double standards within the Ministry of Health. Social media is filled with anecdotes of New Zealanders being denied Covid vaccine exemptions despite experiencing severe and even life-threatening reactions to prior doses.
Some speculate that some of the healthcare workers who were exempted from Covid vaccination might have administered the vaccines to coerced New Zealanders. This revelation has sparked significant controversy and debate surrounding the handling of vaccine mandates in the country.
Former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, known for her strong stance on vaccination, imposed proof of vaccination requirements on a wide range of social activities. Her government’s coercive vaccine mandates were considered a key factor in New Zealand’s high vaccination rates. However, her successor, Chris Hipkins, recently stated that Covid vaccination was not compulsory, emphasizing that individuals ultimately made their own choices.
This revelation has left New Zealanders grappling with the realization that not only were they pressured into vaccination, but also that the Health Ministry appeared to be secretly exempting its own key workers from the mandates.