All frontline border workers 'should be vaccinated by now': Baker

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
A leading epidemiologist is concerned that thousands of border workers have not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19.

The New Zealand Herald reports about 3800 border workers are still to be inoculated and hundreds of workers at the border are not getting tested within the required timeframe.

Professor Michael Baker from Otago University said having a highly vaccinated and tested workforce at the border was a key defence for New Zealand.

"This is a top priority group for vaccination... all the border facing workers and also those working at ports, sea ports and air crews, really at this point they should all be vaccinated."

He said there was now no excuse for not having all frontline workers vaccinated.

Learn from past pandemic mistakes, academics warn
A group of five academics from the universities of Otago, Canterbury and Massey said the country needed to learn from the Covid-19 pandemic or time, knowledge and momentum could be lost in future crises.

The New Zealand Medical Journal yesterday published 'We have been warned - preparing now to prevent the next pandemic'.

In a statement, its lead author Professor David Murdoch of the University of Otago in Christchurch said although New Zealand's health system had coped well, the history of pandemics showed countries had failed to learn from past experience.

It was important to build preparedness following the Covid-19 outbreak, he said.

Establishing a formal network of expertise across a broad range of disciplines was one way to do this, Murdoch said. Identifying and using expertise had been patchy in New Zealand at the beginning of the pandemic, he said.

"We also need much more flexible plans to deal with future pandemics. The pandemic plan we had at the beginning of last year was pretty much focused on influenza alone."

Co-author Professor Sue Crengle from the University of Otago said Māori and other groups who experienced inequities must be involved in all pandemic preparation activities.

"Pandemic plans need to include Māori responses such as those we saw during this Covid pandemic - activated during the initial responses and with appropriate resourcing," she said in a statement.

Add a Comment

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter