Page 23 - PCSANZ_Annual Report 2021
P. 23

 In early November the Government and Ara Poutama Aotearoa introduced mandatory vaccination for all staff and contractors (PCSANZ is in this category) entering a prison. This decision was part of the ongoing activity to reduce the potential effects of COVID-19 on the very vulnerable prison population. This mandate was subsequently extended to all persons wanting to enter a prison, including private visitors.
PCSANZ supported mandatory vaccination and also decided that it should apply to all staff and volunteers regardless of whether they needed access to the prison or not. This decision was
to ensure that PCSANZ safeguarded all its members and had no points of vulnerability.
The mandatory vaccination decision was well- received by most staff and volunteers. Some have found the decision difficult to accept, on
grounds of personal belief or concerns about the effect of the vaccination on their health. Despite the COVID-19 crisis, we have observed again that nearly all people in the prison setting have risen to the challenges and dealt well with all of the uncertainty, anxiety, and disruption. But there has been considerable cost in
terms of fatigue and a general ‘fed-upness’ with lockdowns. The traffic light system will hopefully allow the country to move towards a gentler rhythm and some much-needed rest.
Considerable uncertainty remains about
how 2022 will unfold but there are signs that chaplaincy will slowly increase its presence
at sites in the New Year. Meanwhile, PCSANZ is giving more thought to how it can better support its staff and volunteers in this difficult time and find new and innovative ways of providing support to paihere and staff at the various sites around the country.

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