Dairy owners, staff and their families are now being prioritised for Covid-19 vaccinations as essential workers.
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CHRIS SKELTON/STUFF Dairy and Business Owners Group chair Sunny Kaushal said there was “almost a robbery every day” at a dairy in New Zealand.

Under alert level 4 restrictions, dairies are able to remain open as an essential service.

Dairy and Business Owners Group chair Sunny Kaushal said being granted priority for vaccination on Saturday was a relief.

“There is a bit of a relief, there’s so much stress already, as you know, there are so many things going on, Covid-19, crime, the financial stress, so many things. So this is one relief which obviously was quite major for everyone,” he said.

Group 2 now includes people who work in dairies, supermarkets, petrol stations, licensing trusts, pharmacies, food banks, self-service laundries, hardware and DIY stores, accommodation services, passenger and public transport services, school hostels, and social and community-based services provided to support persons to maintain critical well-being, or as crisis support for people who are unsafe or homeless.

People in these workplaces are able to receive vaccinations as soon as possible, without having to wait until September 1 to book.

“In expanding this group, we recognise the increased risk that people in this group face of contracting Covid-19 in the course of their work,” a Ministry of Health spokesperson said.

Kaushal said his group wished to “give a bouquet” to Countdown, which lobbied the Ministry of Health for the move, and the ministry itself.

“It has been recognised that our people are definitely on the Covid-19 frontline.

“It might have taken a week since we first asked for vaccination priority, but dairies now have vaccination priority. We’d like to thank Countdown for interceding on our behalf with the Ministry of Health. This is the grocery sector, big and small, acting as one team for the team of five million,” he said.

It comes after Kaushal called for vaccination priority as dairy staff were “frontline essential workers” and more police support during lockdown, as members were concerned their businesses would become “more of a target” because the streets were empty.

“Security, vaccinations and grocery reform will help dairies to keep servicing the team of 5 million, not only now, but well after this lockdown ends,” Kaushal said.

A Countdown spokeswoman said it is pleased that dairy owners and their teams are now able to get their vaccines as a priority.

“We’ve been actively working with the Ministry to provide vaccines for our own teams as quickly as possible, and were happy to help connect these conversations. The more frontline vaccinations the better!”

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust has teamed up with Calon Wen, and wants other dairy farms to join in.

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