Sunday, November 28

Auckland midwives weigh government mandatory vaccination order

Sarai Tepou has worked as a freelance midwife in South Auckland for several years and says the government’s mandatory vaccination order for those in the profession is a step too far.

An unrecognizable female doctor wears protective mask and gloves as she prepares to examine an unrecognizable pregnant woman.

Photo: Getty Images 2021

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced earlier this month that high-risk workers in the healthcare sector should be fully vaccinated by December 1 and should have received their first dose by December 30. October.

The order is expected to cover midwives, general practitioners, health nurses, paramedics and all health workers at sites where vulnerable patients are treated, including intensive care units.

“Most of the people who work in these sectors are already fully or partially vaccinated, but we cannot leave anything to chance, so we are making it mandatory,” Hipkins said.

Tepou declined to answer questions about whether she had been vaccinated and whether she now faced losing her job if she was not vaccinated on October 30.

“But I am opposed to the government making it mandatory,” he said. “I am concerned about kiwis in general, who are forced to get vaccinated because they are worried about losing their jobs.

“The government has to allow people to have the option to say no.”

His fellow midwife Megan Swarbrick works in rural South Auckland and is also opposed to the government’s mandatory vaccination order.

And even though she said she had fully vaccinated herself, Swarbrick disagrees with the decision to make it mandatory.

“I just don’t think it should be mandatory,” he said. “Until now we have always had the option to vaccinate or not to vaccinate.”

The New Zealand College of Midwives issued a statement on Sunday asking its members to get vaccinated.

“While the decision to get vaccinated is individual, choosing to get vaccinated against Covid-19 recognizes our broader collective and professional responsibilities,” said Executive Director Alison Eddy.

“The university strongly urges all midwives who have not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19 to seize the opportunity to do so as soon as possible.”

Alison Eddy is the Executive Director of the New Zealand College of Midwives

New Zealand College of Midwives Executive Director Alison Eddy says that any midwife who has not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19 should do so as soon as possible.
Photo: Things / John Kirk-Anderson

Ten midwives in Taranaki made headlines last week after refusing to be vaccinated under the order and now face the loss of their jobs.

Shannon MacCourt is a midwife from South Auckland and said she is fully vaccinated.

He said he understood that some industry colleagues had concerns about mandatory vaccinations and freedom of choice is an important principle in midwifery.

“But at the end of the day we work in healthcare and we have a duty to protect vulnerable people,” he said.

Auckland University Professor of Epidemiology Rod Jackson said he couldn’t understand why someone in the healthcare sector would resist getting vaccinated.

He said it was difficult for him to make sense of opponents who felt that vaccination was a matter of human rights and freedom of choice.

“People need to be honest about this,” Jackson said. “This is the biggest threat to humanity since WWII, so the normal rules don’t apply.

“If we don’t [mandate it], unvaccinated people will not only fill our hospitals and morgues, but they will also infect the vaccinated, “he said.” I hate confinements and mandates too, but I hate death and illness more. “

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Local Democracy Reporting is a public interest news service supported by RNZ, the Association of News Publishers, and NZ On Air.

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