National | Vaccination

Caregiver opens up on mandate vaccination that ends job

Mandatory vaccination has forced a single mother who worked as a caregiver assistant at a rest home for two years to apply for a benefit from WINZ to support her whānau of four children - and is left looking for future employment.

"I pretty much have to start my whole life over again, Zarea Davis says. "People are going to be saying' just get the jab and get vaccinated 'but that's not my choice and I don't want it."

For two years Zarea Davis worked in her dream job caring for kaumātua at a rest home in the Waikato, a job she has been passionate about since she first walked into a rest home after her mother suggest she apply for a job at her work.

Davis says, "Pouri, I will miss them, I will, miss all my work colleagues, and they were lovely. I was a health care assistant looking after the elderly from rest home level right up to palliative."

"They say not to get attached because they eventually do pass on but, being Māori, it's hard to not get that connection with them," Davis says.

"She [Mum] is a healthcare assistant and they were looking for workers. So I was like 'I'll apply for it.' I fell in love with the residents and just had a bond with them," she says.

Te Ao Marama understands her former employer provided enough opportunity for Davis to consider her options. But, as Davis explains, she feels the government is ultimately responsible for the mandate.

Mandatory vaccinations

Mandatory vaccination requirements cover a number of health workers including certain non-regulated healthcare workers, such as those in aged residential care, home and community support services.

"How will I provide for my family? To be honest, I am now on the benefit, I hope this will help me out until I settle and sort something out from there," Davis says.

This comes after Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced last month high-risk health and disability sector workers will need to have had their first dose by October 30 and be fully vaccinated by December 1.

Davis, who is not anti-vaccine, adds with no whānau support in Waikato, her only option is moving home to New Plymouth in the next two weeks.