Christchurch City Council is requiring staff at all its work places to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
This decision is in line with the Council’s announcement in December that it was mandating My Vaccine Passes for people using its public facilities, such as libraries, sport and recreation centres and the Christchurch Art Gallery.
Council Chief Executive Dawn Baxendale says the vaccination policy reflects the risk of COVID-19, particularly new highly contagious variants, such as Omicron, and the change in approach to managing the virus in the community.
“New Zealanders are now travelling for their summer break and it is anticipated that we will have community transmission of COVID-19. We need to be prepared for to deal with the potential spread of the virus in our communities,’’ says Mrs Baxendale.
“As a Council we have an obligation under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 to provide a work environment without risks to health and safety, so far as is reasonably practicable. This obligation includes eliminating or minimising the risks associated with exposure to COVID-19.”
Mrs Baxendale says the Council is implementing the vaccination policy on 10 January to protect the safety and wellbeing of staff, elected members and residents.
“Our work on this vaccine policy has been very thorough, but it needed to be given its significance in the ever- changing environment we currently face regarding COVID-19,” Mrs Baxendale says.
“Our staff engaged openly and willingly when we consulted on our draft policy, with 71 per cent of staff surveyed saying they wanted greater protection in the workplace. Four hundred staff provided feedback.
“The policy has since been refined based on feedback to an initial survey and two rounds of consultation, assessments of the risk for roles at the Council, expert public health advice, and a review of relevant research.
“These are challenging times. As an organisation, we will do all that is reasonably practicable to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our staff, our elected members, our contractors and our residents,’’ Mrs Baxendale says.