By One News / TVNZ. Republished with permission.
“Man, my breathing has been pretty bad… the loss of taste and smell, sore muscles,” those are the words of a 34-year-old construction worker, struggling to breathe as he lies in Middlemore Hospital with Covid-19.
There, he recorded a video with a desperate plea.
“I wouldn’t want any of you guys to go through what I’m going through, yeah especially your guys family, it’s pretty tough. I’m lucky I’m here at Middlemore hospital, they’ve been looking after me.”
He wasn’t vaccinated prior to getting sick and told 1News he thought Covid wasn’t really “real”.
Now he has one simple message to others, “get vaccinated”.
The video was released to 1News from the Construction Accord, a group of industry and government representatives, as they urge for compulsory vaccination on all construction sites.
A plan is being worked on legal experts say construction bosses are examining health and safety rules to see whether workplaces can legally mandate it.
Janine Stewart, a construction partner at MinterEllisonRuddWatts says a number of companies have asked her to look at what is and isn’t possible.
“If you responsibly undertake a health and safety assessment and it supports a risk mitigation measure such as vaccination, it is possible, but you can’t ignore other measures as well such as testing and mask wearing,” she says.
But many within the industry are calling for the government to introduce compulsory jabs for all construction sites and workers.
Cainan Hall agrees.
“You could pass it on to a workmate and you could shut down a whole site just because of one person not having that protection.”
Now out of hospital, he’s recovering at the Jet Park hotel in isolation. Two of his flatmates – one partially vaccinated, one not at all – are now also Covid positive.
He’ll now be getting vaccinated as soon as he’s allowed to – and hopes many other construction workers will be joining him.