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COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

Category Administration and Management
Type Policy
Approved by Vice-Chancellor, 16 December 2021
Date Policy Took Effect 2 May 2022
Last approved revision 20 June 2022
Sponsor Vice-Chancellor
Responsible officer Registrar and Secretary to the Council


To state the University’s position in relation to COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

Organisational scope



All land and buildings owned or occupied or for the time being controlled by the University of Otago anywhere in New Zealand. This does not include University premises leased to or otherwise under the control of others.
External parties contracted by the University of Otago to carry out work on a Campus (when acting in that capacity).
Any activity which, for the purposes of this policy, involves staff and/or students physically congregating together; for example graduations, cultural events and social gatherings.
All employees of the University of Otago (when acting in that capacity).
All enrolled students of the University of Otago and all visiting students as defined under the Visiting Students Policy.
Full and current vaccination against COVID-19 via a New Zealand Government-approved vaccine, as confirmable via the Government’s My Vaccine Pass or any equivalent approved system or mechanism.


1. Policy

  1. The University is required to comply with the COVID‑19 vaccination requirements set out in the COVID‑19 Public Health Response Act 2020, the COVID‑19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021, including any amendments, and other relevant Government legislation and regulation.
  2. As the COVID-19 virus evolves, the University will from time to time undertake health and safety risk assessments and take into account public health guidance to determine whether the University should require additional vaccination requirements for certain groups.
  3. Consistent with clause 1(b), the University has determined that the following groups require Vaccination:
    1. staff in Disability Information and Support
    2. staff, students and contractors involved in conducting research which brings them into contact with vulnerable populations, and
    3. staff, students and contractors involved in research which brings them into contact with the virus responsible for COVID-19 (including any variants).
  4. The Deputy-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) shall publish information on which groups shall be considered vulnerable populations under clause 1(c)ii above, and shall have authority to determine if any research, and/or any researcher’s involvement in that research, falls under clauses 1(c)ii or iii.
  5. Where there is an immediate and demonstrable threat to health and safety which may be mitigated by vaccination, the Vice-Chancellor may make a directive temporarily restricting access to specified premises, activities or events, to those who are vaccinated.
  6. The University reserves the right to require evidence of vaccination or vaccination exemption in relation to any activity requiring vaccination under this policy.
  7. The Vice-Chancellor may approve variations to the application of this policy, provided that these are consistent with the University’s legal obligations, and that health and safety risks can be adequately mitigated. Any exceptions approved under this provision apply to University policy only, and are not exemptions from legal requirements relating to vaccination.

2. Privacy

  1. The University may collect and hold information on the vaccination status of staff, students and contractors where this is required under this policy and is permitted under law.
  2. Any person may decline to provide their vaccination status to the University, unless provision of their status is required under law. Where a person declines to provide their status, the University may treat them as being unvaccinated.
  3. Vaccination status information collected by the University will be treated in accordance with privacy provisions in the relevant legislation.
  4. Advice on appropriate treatment of vaccination status information may be issued by, or be obtained from:
    1. the Director of Human Resources in relation to staff and contractor information
    2. the Registrar and Secretary to the Council in relation to all other groups.

3. Policy Review

  1. This policy will be reviewed where changes in public health and/or operational contexts require this, including where a directive is issued under clause 1(e), and at least annually thereafter.
  2. Policy review may be limited to confirming that the policy should continue to apply, or may involve repeal of the policy if the public health and/or operational contexts significantly change.

Related policies, procedures and forms

For the purposes of clause 1(d) of the COVID‑19 Vaccination Policy, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) has determined that “vulnerable populations” are those people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID‑19 as specified on the New Zealand Government’s COVID‑19 website:

Who is at higher risk of COVID‑19

Other related documents:

Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact:

Registrar and Secretary to the Council