Emphatic Support For Vaccination Of Staff, Councillors, Public
Waikato regional councillors have joined the chorus of voices supporting the COVID-19 vaccination drive, recommending that all elected members, staff and the public get the jab.
While councillors agreed that vaccination was a personal choice, a motion to “emphatically support the Government’s COVID-19 vaccination programme” was passed in a 13-1 vote.
In their decision, councillors recommended that elected members and staff, as well as the public, whether it’s mandated or not, be vaccinated consistent with the Ministry of Health advice unless there are valid health reasons for an exemption.
Following yesterday’s virtual meeting, Waikato Regional Council Chair Russ Rimmington said: “There were differing views around the council table, we listened to them all and it was a respectful discussion.
“But overall we agreed it was important to show leadership, to send a clear message to council staff and to the people of our region – we support vaccination, and that’s because the alternatives are so much worse,” Cr Rimmington said.
“We have so many vulnerable communities in the Waikato region. Getting our vaccination rates up is the key to protecting them, and the rest of our rohe, and getting out of lockdown.”
During the meeting the council’s People and Capability Manager Nick Ollington told councillors that work had started on a COVID-19 vaccination policy for the organisation, which will include role-based risk assessments.
“The topic is a complex one, with issues spanning health and safety, employment and privacy legislation, along with the Bill of Rights Act. We’re aware that mandating workplace vaccination is a complex issue that will need to balance individual rights with our obligation as an employer to take all reasonably practicable steps to provide a safe workplace.”
Council Chief Executive Chris McLay said staff were being supported to get vaccinated. “It’s been really important to us that we make it as easy as possible for staff and their dependents to get vaccinated.
“So we’ve enabled them to attend vaccination appointments during work time, and provided information on the vaccination programme.
“But we know vaccination is not the only control we need. We already have protocols to provide for the safety of our people – as well as our customers and communities – when we’re working at the various alert levels. These align to the government’s guidelines and reflect the types of essential services we provide,” Mr McLay said.