Medical exemption process for mandates ‘not fair’

April 14, 2022

Over the last 25-plus years, nursing has been intellectualised.

Email your letter to: [email protected].
We reserve the right to edit letters for sense and length. Shorter letters (under 400 words) are preferred. Please include address, nursing qualifications and phone number.

District health boards now have more middle and upper management roles and not enough nurses at the forefront of practice.


The abolishment of hospital-based training was also a significant, negative milestone as was the scrapping of the enrolled urse training for some 15 years.

Fast forward 2021… No sympathy was ever expressed or any value placed on those nurses whose autonomy was taken away by mandates.

The medical exemption process was not fair, reasonable or transparent and after 45 years of dedicated service my employment was terminated a week before Christmas and I was kicked to the curb like a piece of trash that needed to be got rid of!

When I started my nursing career, I was administered a vaccine despite the doctor being aware of a contraindication and I subsequently suffered a life threatening adverse reaction event which left me with physical and mental scars. I was advised by a specialist dermatologist never to be vaccinated again.

Nursing recruitment will only be hindered by ongoing mandates.

Maria Starink (EN)

NZNO professional and nursing services manager Mairi Lucas replies: NZNO supports the Government’s policy of requiring health-care workers to be vaccinated. Most health-care workers are already vaccinated, and this Order provides reassurance and certainty to both health-care workers and the public accessing health care services. 

The safety and wellbeing of health-care workers is the key to overcoming the COVID-19 crisis and high levels of community vaccination help keep NZNO members safe. 

For clarity, a mandatory vaccination order simply means the Government has decided that COVID-19 vaccination is essential for people filling the affected roles. It does not mean that anyone is forced to get a vaccine.  

It is NZNO’s view that members who are covered by the Order and decline the vaccine are potentially putting their jobs at risk. Being vaccinated has become a legal expectation of health-care workers. Based on recent case law, NZNO does not see a wide range of options for members who choose not to be vaccinated for reasons other than any legal exemption.

NZNO will represent its members who cannot or choose not to be vaccinated to ensure their employment rights are upheld and relevant professional obligations are understood. NZNO member support can be contacted on 0800 28 38 48 or [email protected].

NZNO’s full position statement on COVID vaccinations can be found here