60 per cent of Bay of Plenty port workers without a jab

It’s deeply concerning that 60 per cent of port workers in the Bay of Plenty haven’t had a single vaccine especially when there are 11 cases of Covid-19 in a ship off Tauranga, National’s Covid-19 spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

As at 22 July, of the 530 frontline border workers in the Bay of Plenty, 319 haven’t had a single jab. The ship carrying 11 Covid-19 cases berthed in Tauranga for two days.

“This is incredibly concerning. Frontline workers were meant to have been vaccinated months ago. We have a glaring hole in our border.

“Bay of Plenty with our largest port workforce is the worse with 60 per cent of their workers unvaccinated, that’s higher than the average for all port workers, which is still shockingly at 40 per cent unvaccinated.

“Given the extraordinarily low rate of vaccinated port workers in the Bay of Plenty, why wasn’t the crew tested before the ship was allowed to berth?

“It’s unbelievable that the Government has let six months pass and there are still huge numbers of port workers unvaccinated. New Zealand urgently needs a national plan to get as many port workers vaccinated as possible.

“The port is one way Covid-19 could enter New Zealand. Given the huge number of unvaccinated port workers in the Bay of Plenty, and the fact active cases were on board at the time, it’s not unfeasible that transmission could’ve taken place, putting the rest of New Zealand at risk.

“The Government has left a major vulnerability in our Covid-19 response. It has taken way too long to mandate that staff working at the border in a frontline should be vaccinated.

“Our vaccine rollout is still moving at a glacial pace so if Covid-19 does get through the border, our largely unvaccinated population would be vulnerable.

“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.”

The breakdown by region of port workers unvaccinated, one dose and two doses is attached here.