Health Exemptions from Mandatory Vaccination Order

The COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021 includes the ability for people to seek exemption from mandatory vaccination requirements for health reasons. Doing so requires an assessment and written determination from a ”suitably qualified health practitioner”, and the Nursing Council has received enquiries as to whether nurses meet this criterion.

Advice from the Ministry of Health is that a suitable practitioner is someone who is registered and holds a current practising certificate under the HPCA 2003, and who may appropriately give such advice acting in accordance with their scope of practice.

This afternoon the Nursing Council formally clarified that in respect of nurses, providing an exemption assessment and determination for the purposes of this Order is only in accordance with the Nurse Practitioner scope of practice. This reflects the advanced diagnostic reasoning involved in determining when an exemption is required for personal safety. A Registered or Enrolled Nurse may not provide a determination for a mandatory vaccination exemption.

The Ministry of Health has released guidance on mandatory vaccination for health practitioners and employers, including the health exemption process. This is available on the Ministry’s information page at https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-response-planning/covid-19-mandatory-vaccinations  

Information regarding acceptable clinical reasons for exemption will be available from The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, the Immunisation Advisory Centre, and the Ministry of Health.