Church staff, volunteers and the education vaccine mandate

The New York Times

The Ministry of Education has clarified who falls within the education sector’s vaccine mandate.

On the list are those who work or volunteer in an organisation in the same campus or building as a school or early learning service. Churches and cafes are cited as examples.

Staff at churches sharing a building or campus with a school must be vaccinated if they will be there at the same time as students.

Church leaders who have so far refused the jabs – like Brian Tamaki and Peter Mortlock – could face being barred from their own church grounds during school hours.

They include City Impact Church’s Pastor Peter Mortlock and Destiny Church leader Bishop Brian Tamaki – who is facing charges over recent protests against lockdowns and Covid jab requirements.

The vaccine mandate is intended to prevent or slow the spread of Covid within schools.

Vaccinated staff are much less likely to catch or get sick from Covid. They are therefore less likely to spread it to each other or to students.

Although children rarely become seriously ill from the virus, and those who suffer from respiratory illness are at higher risk.

Children can also spread the virus to unvaccinated or vulnerable family members.

Several thousand people within the education system are resisting the mandate, which insists:

Schools have a staff vaccine register by November 9
After November 15 people who have not had their first dose won’t be allowed on site.

Churches have exactly the same mandate.

While most churches actively support vaccination, some prominent church leaders have come out against the mandates.

Brian Tamaki, the Destiny Church leader, has a private school within its church complex in Wiri.

Peter Mortlock’s City Impact runs several childcare services at church sites. It also has a school on site at its Albany branch.

Mortlock says whether he is vaccinated or not is a private matter.

He says City Impact is “working through all these new and ever-shifting ‘rules’, just as everyone is”.

There was a lot of detail yet to be released and questions to be answered for clarity, he says.

“We obviously want to work within the regulations and are working with all our staff and facilities to do so.

“As you know this is a very stressful time for a lot of people, students included, and we will be ensuring everyone’s safety.”

Tamaki posted to Facebook on August 18 saying he and his wife Hannah Tamaki had chosen not to be vaccinated “at this time”.

Asked for a response to the mandate affecting church staff, Destiny Church spokeswoman Anne Williamson says the church has no comment at this stage.

Many churches have been actively encouraging their congregations to get vaccinated. Some have transported parishioners to vaccination centres and encouraged vaccinations from the pulpit.

A positive spin on community vaccination is the new traffic light system will give religious groups with vaccination certificates freedom to gather in larger numbers.


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News category: New Zealand.

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