Publication:

Napier Courier - 2021-10-13

Data:

Port considers mandatory jab

NEWS

Gary Hamilton-Irvine

All frontline workers at Napier Port have received their first Covid jab within the timeframe set down by the Government. However, the port’s CEO has proposed even stricter rules to better protect against the spread of Covid. Border workers, including port staff who work closely with international ships, had up until October 1 to get their first injection under a Government order. The Ministry of Health has now confirmed all relevant port workers at Napier Port have complied with that mandatory vaccination order and have at least received their first jab. They must have their second dose by November 4. About 500 people work at the port but many do not work directly with international ships which means they are not required to get a jab under the order. Napier Port CEO Todd Dawson said the port was now considering bringing in a mandatory vaccination order of its own, for all workers not just frontline staff. He said the port was currently consulting and seeking feedback from employees and private businesses about the idea. “The reality is Delta is here and we need to protect our people. The risk is no longer only coming from the sea but from the land as well, so we are anticipating operating Napier Port under the scenario of Delta in the community. “We are consulting with our workforce and port users around mandatory vaccination of all employees [not just the frontline team].” Dawson also said in a column in Hawke’s Bay Today last week that the port’s rapid saliva testing unit had arrived and would help monitor workers quickly. “It’s the first of its kind in the region and will allow us to test people at our port sites and get a result within 30 minutes,” he wrote. Ministry of Health Covid-19 Vaccine and Immunisation Programme group manager operations Astrid Koornneef said everyone working at the port was complying with the mandatory vaccination order. “For border workers resident in Hawke’s Bay, only two are showing as not vaccinated. “However, these workers are not working in roles subject to the vaccinations order, so the law is being complied with.” She said the way the Government monitored whether port workers were complying with the order was through the Border Workforce Testing Register. “This data is monitored daily to ensure no unvaccinated workers are active in roles covered by the [order]. Every employer with staff subject to the vaccinations order has assured the Government they understand the requirements and will not deploy unvaccinated staff into roles subject to the order.” She said employers faced a maximum fine of $4000 or a maximum prison sentence of six months for breaking the rules. Those who work “on or around” ships were currently covered by the Government’s mandatory vaccination order.

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