Vaccinations mandatory for most staff
Across the IHC Group, it’s extremely important for us to protect our colleagues and the people we support from COVID-19.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, particularly in our services, we have taken advice from the Ministry of Health as alert levels have changed on everything from social distancing and more stringent cleaning to mask use and more flexible work schedules.
In late October the Ministry of Health published a Health Order that made it mandatory for certain health and disability workers to be fully vaccinated.
In IDEA Services, this includes all support workers, service managers and area managers.
In Choices NZ, it covers all life coaches and facilitators.
In IHC, it applies to all family liaisons, volunteers (face-to-face) and volunteer coordinators.
At Accessible Properties, it includes all property managers.
And across the whole organisation, it includes those working in all National Support Services roles (Quality, Psychology, Clinical Health, Systems, Service Development and Health and Safety), administration roles (in local offices) and local office-based roles, and any other staff who conduct site visits to residential homes, day bases and other facilities where the people we support are present.
Deb Hammond, General Manager Group Health and Safety, says this is a hardline but welcome move from the Government to ensure we are doing the most we can to protect each other from the virus.
“While we know this may be tough for some people who either choose not to be vaccinated or are on the fence about it, we recognise that vaccinations are the best line of defence against COVID-19.
“We know that people with disabilities and other health conditions are more at risk of the effects of COVID-19 and, if we can say with certainty that 100 percent of staff in those high-risk roles are vaccinated, that provides a level of assurance that we are doing the best we can to keep people safe.”
Affected staff had to have their first vaccination by 11.59pm on 15 November 2021 and their second vaccination by 11.59pm on 1 January 2022.
Those who choose not to be vaccinated will not be allowed to work from those dates.
“We respect that people can decide to not be vaccinated, however this will have consequences for their employment,” says Deb.
“We know this will be a difficult situation for some, but we need to comply with the legally binding order and continue to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in our workplaces.”
Caption: The Health Order makes it mandatory for certain health and disability workers to be fully vaccinated. Photograph: Daniel Schludi – Unsplash
This story was published in Strong Voices. The magazine is posted free to all IHC members.
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