Ministry matters

Covid 19 Delta outbreak: teacher vaccination rates published by the Department of Education

The alternative vaccine offers people affected by the vaccination mandate another option to keep their jobs.

An overwhelming majority of teachers and other school staff have reportedly been vaccinated, according to the education ministry.

As of November 15, all staff in schools and preschool learning centers must have received at least one dose of the vaccine to help protect them and the children in their care from Covid.

Most teachers agreed with the mandate, but some schools feared they would be hit hard by teachers reluctant to get the jab.

But the new data shows that vaccine refractors are a very small minority, albeit vocal.

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The Ministry of Education began asking schools from November 19 for a summary of the immunization status of registered teachers and other paid staff.

Of the schools that responded, 97.6 percent of teachers had received at least one dose – well above the national rate of 93 percent of the eligible population.

This roughly matches a one-off survey conducted by the New Zealand Principals’ Federation last month, which found that only 2%, or one in 50 teachers, were unvaccinated.

The ministry said the data was not final but had received responses from 93.6% of schools. He couldn’t get them to answer because the ministry was not their employer.

Wellington led the pack, followed by Canterbury, Auckland and Otago and Southland – all of which had at least 98% of teachers vaccinated with at least one dose.

Hawke’s Bay / Tairawhiti were not far, followed by Waikato. The least vaccinated area was Tai Tokerau at 93.3%.

Northland directors have expressed concerns that the region will be hit hard by the mandate due to low vaccination rates.

But even in the north, the teacher immunization rate is still above the national rate of 93 percent – and well above the Northland DHB rate of 85 percent.

At the end of 2020, around 71,500 teachers were in the classrooms, including around 14,000 replacement teachers. If 2.4% of them were still not treated, that would mean that around 1,700 teachers would be banned from entering the school.

To put this in context, 6,445 people entered the faculty in 2019 and 5,545 left, according to the ministry’s Education Counts website. Last year, 5,821 teachers entered the labor market – data on the number of teachers who left is not available.

Some schools have kept non-vacant teachers on the payroll or on unpaid leave for now, in hopes they might change their mind.

The deadline for school staff to receive their second dose of vaccine is January 1, which means unvaccinated teachers could still receive a first dose by December 10 and receive a double dose by December 10. the new Year.

High vaccination rates could mask disparities between zones

Ministry data does not break down immunization rates by subject or school type, and shortages may be concentrated in some areas.

He also did not investigate the early childhood sector.

Some reports prior to the mandate taking effect suggest that there are wide variations between schools – ranging from 100% vaccination rates to almost all staff refusing the vaccine.

Immunization rates among support staff can also cause problems. One in 20 – 95 percent – of the schools surveyed had not received the jab.

Tai Tokerau’s rates were lowest again with 89.1% of teacher assistants receiving their first dose, while Auckland had the highest teacher assistant vaccination rate at 96.5%.

The education mandate also applies to the staff of the Education Review Office and the Department of Education if they attend schools at the same time as the children. The ministry said 100 percent of staff assigned to the ERO and 97 percent in the ministry had received their first dose.

The Education Department praised education staff for “leading by example.”

Spokesman Sean Teddy said the ministry appreciates schools providing information at an exceptionally busy hour.

“The information collected is not definitive and cannot be reported as such. However, they corroborate what we were already hearing, that in their roles as teachers, educators and support staff, they set an example to set themselves and their communities of students and parents. the confidence to be in school. “


He said most schools did not need help with staffing issues after tenure began and had managed with their current teaching resources.

Regional ministry staff had contacted schools and kura as the mandate deadline approached, so they could work with those who anticipated staffing issues, said Teddy, who is senior (chief) of operations. and integration.

“We have found that the vast majority of schools and kura manage with available resources and we have made an effort to provide additional support as needed. “

This included emergency personnel, teachers who normally worked in a number of schools, and trained support staff.

“Staff in our regional office will continue to work with schools and kura to find solutions to any problems if they arise. To date, most have not needed any support from us, which is very reassuring and a testament to the great work that schools and kura are doing. to minimize disruption to teaching and learning.