Mandatory Border Worker Vaccinations Not ‘Silver Bullet’ Says Pilots

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The New Zealand Air Line Pilots’ Association (NZALPA) says today’s announcement that all border workers, not just those who work for the government, must receive the Covid-19 vaccine will likely make little difference without also accelerating vaccinations for all New Zealanders.

NZALPA President and international pilot Captain Andrew Ridling said that the government needed to simultaneously speed up the vaccination of all New Zealanders, not just those working on the frontline.

“Mandatory vaccination of all border staff is not a ‘silver bullet’. As the International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations (IFALPA) has stated in its 21 April Safety Bulletin, vaccinations should not be mandatory, but they are highly recommended for personal protection, herd immunity and to slow the spread of the virus.

“What we need is a quicker and more fully vaccinated New Zealand,” Captain Ridling said.

“Around 95 per cent of our pilot members are already vaccinated, and my family and I are personally grateful to be inoculated shortly after the vaccine was available here in New Zealand.

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“Since the start of the pandemic NZALPA has been very clear that our members take our transmission risk responsibilities very seriously.

“Now the government’s own research released today showed that New Zealanders are overall motivated by a sense of duty and a desire to ‘follow the rules.’ We urge the government to take this opportunity to bring forward the roll out of vaccinations for everyone in Aotearoa.

“As well as keeping our people safe, it will also send an assurance message to those airlines and international tourists looking to return, including providing employment to those thousands in the aviation industry who’ve lost their jobs, lived on reduced wages and have done it tough over the unprecedented last 16 months.

“We need to work together to make sure all New Zealanders are kept safe as well as helping revive our part in the international market. The most clear and obvious thing to do is speed up vaccination rollout. Otherwise, we risk our economy being left behind,” Captain Ridling said.

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