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Mandatory vaccinations

After consultation, a decision has been made confirming that the University of Otago will require mandatory vaccinations for its staff, students, contractors, visitors and members of the public to enter its premises from Monday 10 January 2022. 

This decision has not been made lightly. Senior leaders have spent the past few days reading detailed feedback and meeting with staff before deciding that this is our best path forward to deal with the community safety and operational concerns this University faces in the light of the Government’s Covid Protection Framework (Traffic Light System) and a global pandemic which shows no sign of slowing down.

Ultimately, mandatory vaccination gives us the safest way to operate the University in a manner that is as close to normal as possible, alongside our consistent health measures of masks, physical distancing where needed, and good hygiene.

This gives our students, the heart of our institution, the best chance to receive the high-quality education they expect from us. It means we can offer on-campus learning at all COVID-19 Protection Framework levels, and close to the normal student experience which Otago prides itself on. 

It also offers our staff the reassurance that many have clearly told us they desire – that their workplace is a safe one to spend their time in and that the workload associated with changing between Traffic Light colours is reduced.

We are keenly aware that the matter of vaccinations is a divisive one. All those living in New Zealand are currently offered a choice – to vaccinate or to not. It is not an easy choice for many, and for some, choosing not to be vaccinated will mean life-altering changes. We urge everyone to be kind and respectful of each other, following the core values of this University.

Additional information for staff and students about mandatory vaccinations

Below are links to information for staff and students on the key questions we expect you will want to know about how this decision will work after Monday 10 January. 

For your personal questions please contact

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COVID‑19 vaccination clinics

We have several opportunities for students, staff, and members of our community to get vaccinated on the Dunedin campus. These are walk-in clinics so, no need to book an appointment. Get either your first dose or if it has been over three weeks since your first dose, get your second now.

The COVID‑19 vaccination is free for everyone aged over 12 who is in New Zealand.

COVID‑19 vaccination clinics are running on the ground floor of the Dental School on the following dates:

  • 8 December: 1pm–6pm
  • 10 December: 9am–4pm
  • 15 and 17 December: 9am–4pm

These clinics are open to anyone for their first, second, or booster shot. Booster shots are available for those who have been fully vaccinated for six months or more.

Student Association leaders tell us why they received the COVID‑19 vaccine

OUSA President Michaela Waite-Harvey

Te Roopū Māori President Karamea Pewhairangi

UOPISA President Melissa Lama

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