45 per cent of port workers still without a single jab

The National Party has obtained a document showing nearly half of port workers have not had a single COVID-19 vaccine dose, despite the port being a gateway for COVID-19 into New Zealand, National’s COVID-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

The Border Worker Testing Register: Vaccination by Employer Group shows that as at the week ending 20 June, about 1000 port workers, or 45 per cent, had still not received a single vaccination.

“This is deeply concerning.

“The port is one way COVID-19 could enter New Zealand. With almost half of port workers still unvaccinated the Government has left a major vulnerability in our COVID-19 response.

“In February the Government told New Zealanders it would take two to three weeks to vaccinate all border workers. It’s now five months on and we still have a major gap in our border defence.

“We’re five months on now, the Government has taken way too long to mandate that staff working at the border in a frontline should be vaccinated.

“The Government should be taking a long, hard look at its COVID-19 strategy.

“We still don’t have saliva testing rolled out nationwide, despite both border workers wanting it and public health experts recommending it.

“We are still seeing continual testing failures at the border. And our vaccine roll out is the slowest in the developed world.

“New Zealand is in a precarious position particularly with the Delta variant locking many Australian cities down.

“We don’t want to be in the same situation, so making sure all of our border workers, whether they are at the airport or the seaport, are vaccinated immediately should be the highest priority.”