ZB

Kate Hawkesby: There is no need for a vaccine mandate on health workers anymore

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Wed, 3 Aug 2022, 10:19am
Photo / Auckland DHB
Photo / Auckland DHB

Kate Hawkesby: There is no need for a vaccine mandate on health workers anymore

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Wed, 3 Aug 2022, 10:19am

I’m pleased midwives are asking for justification of the ongoing Covid vaccine mandate, surely we need to let it go by now.

Surely it’s not even relevant anymore, in a world where we are learning to live with Covid, where we are gaining herd immunity anyway, and where the evolution of the virus is such that keeping up with never ending variants and relevant vaccines is going to become impossible to patrol.

Let’s be honest, how many of us are going to keep up with all the new vaccines that may be available over time against all the new evolving variants?

How many of us are boosted and going to get re boosted and re boosted and how do you keep tabs on that and enforce that without becoming an all-controlling, micro managing, nanny state?

Surely we are at a point now with such desperation in our health workforce that we have to be more realistic?

And when it comes down to it, would you rather have babies delivered safely and new mothers cared for?

Or, stressed and alone because there just isn’t a midwife available?

It’s been reported that the College of Midwives has been asking for a review of the mandates for a while.  

They apparently first wrote to Ministers back in May, asking for a ‘robust review’ into evidence supporting mandating midwives, "given the critical nature of the midwifery workforce shortages".

Their logic is sound and hard to argue with. If they’re daily RAT testing, and they’ve got PPE, then what’s the problem?

You weigh that up against the alternative; no midwives or a glaring lack of them, then it’s a no brainer surely.

Frustratingly, the Government replied to this plea in June with a standard ‘thanks for your letter’ type response, and just reiterating that they regularly review Covid response settings.

Do they though? Or is that just the ideology behind it?

Oh we should keep looking at this, when was the last time they looked at the traffic light system?

When did they think about a mask review? What’s their idea of ‘regular’ reviews really?

But I think when you’ve got even a vaccinologist on board, surely you’re onto something?

University of Auckland vaccinologist Helen Petousis-Harris even said "the conversation has definitely changed" and it was "very reasonable" to review evidence for having mandates.

So we either value quality maternity care or we don’t, I guess is what it boils down to.

And in a country struggling so desperately with no health workforce surely it behoves us to have all options on the table, including the option of an unvaxxed midwife.

What would you rather have? An unvaxxed midwife, or no midwife at all?

I think it’s naïve and backward thinking of the Government not to engage in this with midwives, but not just them, with many aspects of the health workforce.

Surely it’s time we had another look at how relevant mandates really are now, and surely other sectors of the health workforce put pressure on here too.

Because for a government that claims to be ‘regularly reviewing’ all this, it doesn’t really feel like it.