COVID-19: Vaccine information for health professionals

Find useful resources, guidance and the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccine for the health sector, DHBs, health providers and vaccinators.

Last updated: 19 November 2021

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Immunisation guidance and resources

Latest clinical updates from the newsletter

These clinical updates are from the fortnightly newsletter that's published by the COVID-19 Vaccine and Immunisation Programme, specifically for the health and disability sector.

The newsletter includes the latest COVID-19 vaccine information. You can sign up for the newsletter and see previous issues:

Vaccine updates – health sector newsletter

17 November 2021: Boosters, My Vaccine Pass, exemptions

Pfizer booster dose

From Monday 29 November people will be able to access a Pfizer COVID-19 booster dose. A booster vaccine dose is available for anyone who completed their vaccination course at least 6 months prior to their planned booster dose either in New Zealand or overseas. People can access a booster dose in the same way as any other dose, at a walk-in vaccination clinic, by making an appointment with a COVID-19 vaccinating GP or pharmacy or on Book My Vaccine

My Vaccine Pass

New Zealanders can now receive an official record of their COVID-19 vaccination status – My Vaccine Pass for domestic use and a separate International Travel Vaccination Certificate. It provides proof you are fully vaccinated or have a medical exemption. It’s free and issued by the Ministry of Health. The pass will give access to places within New Zealand that require proof under the new COVID Protection Framework.

Vaccination order exemptions

A new process and details on how to apply for exemptions to vaccine mandates is in place. An exemption only applies to health and disability, education and corrections workers. If a temporary medical exemption is granted it isn’t guaranteed that the worker can return to their same role/workplace. This needs to be discussed between the employee and their employer. A COVID-19 vaccination exemption is valid for a period of up to 6 months.

Temporary significant service disruption exemptions

Where a critical service could be disrupted by a person not meeting their mandated vaccination requirements, the Ministry will consider an employer’s application for a ‘significant service disruption’ exemption. The application is considered by a panel of health sector leaders, which makes a recommendation to grant or decline the application to the Minister.

12- to 15-year-old vaccination information

The Ministry of Health has recently published COVID-19 vaccine and children: Information for parents and caregivers which outlines helpful information about vaccines for young people.

4 November 2021: New Pfizer purchase, third primary doses, more

4.7 million doses of Pfizer vaccine purchased for 2022

This additional purchase provides a continual supply of Pfizer vaccines next year for those who did not access a vaccine in 2021. These vaccines might also be used for younger people and for a booster programme if approved by Medsafe.

Third primary dose eligibility

Additional information has come from the COVID-19 Vaccine Technical Advisory Group on the eligibility criteria for a third primary dose of Pfizer. A consent form is required for the third dose and must be completed by the person requiring the third dose and their doctor, and presented with the third dose prescription at the time of vaccination.

Schools as vaccination sites

Schools can be used as community vaccination sites using a DHB vaccination team or other teams as agreed by the DHB. The community vaccination centre planning document provides schools with more detailed guidance.

Inclusivity for transgender people/irawhiti/fa’afāfine/fa’atama

We have some tips to ensure transgender/intersex/non-binary/takatāpui/MVPAFF+ people feel safe and included when checking in to get vaccinated.

  • Don’t make assumptions about a person’s gender, pronouns or family roles. If you need to know this information to provide a good service, it’s okay to respectfully ask for it.
  • Use the words and pronouns that they have asked you to use or that they use to refer to themselves. For example, some people use the pronouns “they/them” instead of 'he/him' or 'she/her'. If you don’t know a person’s pronouns, try using gender-neutral language like 'this person' when talking about them.
  • Identification is not required when coming in for vaccination. Be aware that people may not want to show you identification that has a different name or incorrect gender on it.
  • If someone asks you to use a different name or gender to that shown on their NHI/CIR, please respect that and do your best to ensure that others do the same. You will need to tell the vaccinator to use a different name when calling the person. The person may have a card with them with their NHI name, the name they use and/or their NHI number as they may not wish to discuss it.
  • If someone wishes to change their NHI name or gender details, they should contact their regular health care provider such as their GP practice. Their health care provider will either be able to directly update their details on the National Health Index or, if they do not have update access, they can contact the relevant DHB who can make the changes for them.
  • Confidentiality is especially important for people whose names and gender do not match those on their NHI/CIR or identification – please ensure that any discussions between staff members needed to ensure the person’s correct name is used and their gender is affirmed are not able to be overheard by others.

Menstrual disorders and use of vaccine in pregnancy

The latest studies from Medsafe conclude there is currently insufficient information to confirm a signal of menstrual disorders or unexpected vaginal bleeding with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The COVID-19 Vaccine Independent Safety Monitoring Board (CV-ISMB) reports there do not appear to be any concerns from the reported events to date for the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech in pregnant women.

20 October 2021: Mandatory health care worker vaccination, third primary doses, more

Mandatory vaccinations for health and disability workers

The COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021 now requires anybody conducting high-risk work in the health and disability sector to be fully vaccinated by 1 December 2021. Under these new requirements, general practitioners, pharmacists, community health nurses, midwives, paramedics and all health care workers in sites where vulnerable patients are treated must receive their first dose of the vaccine by 30 October and their second dose by 1 December 2021.

Third primary doses

The COVID-19 Technical Advisory Group has recommended that individuals aged 12 and older who are severely immunocompromised receive a third primary dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccine information for severely immunocompromised people

Accessibility audit of vaccination sites

A reminder to vaccination centres to position their QR code posters at a height suitable for people in wheelchairs. Completing an accessibility audit of clinics is a useful exercise, considering approachability, accessibility and usability for a wide range of users. An accessibility audit often provides useful insights about to make your clinics more user friendly for your communities. This could include advice about signage and way finding, creating a space where people can move about easily and tips to improve useability of the space.

Have your say about the COVID-19 Vaccinator role

We are currently seeking feedback about the COVID-19 Vaccinator role – a role created this year to support the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme. To assist us with this, we invite employers, supervisors and COVID-19 Vaccinators to participate in a short anonymous survey which is open to 26 October.

Take the COVID-19 Vaccinator survey

Encouraging others to get vaccinated

Your most powerful asset is the relationship you have with the person – maintaining the relationship is more important than correcting them or ‘winning’ an argument. Clinical psychologist Rachel Prebble explains how to talk to friends and whānau in a video available on the Ministry of Health's YouTube channel.

Watch the video

Immunisation handbook

The Immunisation Handbook 2020 has a specific chapter about COVID-19 vaccines, including detailed clinical guidance.

The handbook provides clinical guidelines for health professionals on the safest and most effective use of vaccines in their practice.

These guidelines are based on the best scientific evidence available at the time of publication, from published and unpublished literature.

Immunisation Handbook 2020

Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC)

The Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) has been contracted by the Ministry of Health to provide education, training and support to all health professionals and allied workforces during the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Support is available via the IMAC website or 0800 IMMUNE. You can find out more about becoming a COVID-19 vaccinator or how we will build our COVID-19 vaccinator workforce.

COVID-19 education – vaccinator information (IMAC)
COVID-19 education – for health and allied workers (IMAC)

Medsafe vaccine approval and data

Medsafe have approval status updates and datasheets for the COVID-19 vaccines.

Approval status of COVID vaccine applications
Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine – Consumer medicine information summary (Medsafe)
Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine – New Zealand data sheet (Medsafe)


Mandatory vaccination resources

We have developed resources to help people feel confident and calm when faced with high emotion, and some tips on how to talk to people about the vaccination order.

Keeping calm and safe talking with people about the vaccination order (PDF, 105 KB)
Keeping calm and safe talking with people about the vaccination order (Word, 176 KB)

Supporting someone who is anxious (PDF, 77 KB)
Supporting someone who is anxious (Word, 172 KB)

Keeping calm when you need to say no (PDF, 109 KB)
Keeping calm when you need to say no (Word, 172 KB)

Keeping calm and safe – de-escalation tips (PDF, 173 KB)
Keeping calm and safe – de-escalation tips (Word, 79 KB)


Āwhina app for vaccine updates

The Āwhina app puts tailored COVID-19 information in the hands of health workers.

We’re using the app to alert vaccinators and their supports to clinical, critical or time-sensitive updates. The app allows us to send immediate push notifications to vaccinators and supports.

Anyone can download Āwhina. It will be particularly useful for vaccinators, practice managers or anyone involved in the vaccination programme.

Find out more and download Āwhina


Vaccine training

The Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) are running:

  • COVID-19 vaccine training for GPs
  • a COVID-19 educator training module for authorised or pharmacist vaccinators
  • COVID-19 provisional vaccinator training for healthcare professionals in an eligible vaccinating profession
  • COVID-19 training to enable people to become part of the new health workforce of COVID-19 vaccinators working under supervision
  • a 'Train the Trainer' programme supporting the current immunisation workforce with information to support their teams in training later.

Webinars and Q&A sessions

IMAC are also hosting a range of webinars and weekly drop-in online Q&A sessions to share what they know on COVID-19 vaccines and the rollout with health professionals.

This will include webinars for qualified health professionals interested in taking on the role of a Vaccination Clinical Supervisor for the new health workforce of COVID-19 Vaccinators working under supervision.

See upcoming events and register – IMAC

The COVID Vaccine and Immunisation Programme run fortnightly webinars for primary and community care (Thursday mornings, 11am-12noon), providing updates and highlighting areas of work within the programme.

If you would like to receive an invitation to these webinars, that are run via Microsoft Teams, please email [email protected]

View the latest webinar:

Kia ora koutau, ko Joe Bourne toku ignoa, mōrena.

Can somebody just do a sound check for me? Richard, Athena, are you able to give me a wave if you are hearing what I'm saying? Excellent. So welcome to this Community and Primary Care Webinar on the COVID-19 vaccination program. I'm just going to open our hui with karakia and then we'll proceed through.

All right. That was just my friends muting me there.

Kia hora te marino, kia whakapapa pounamu te moana, Hei huarahi mā tātou i te rāngi nei Aroha atu aroha mai Tātou i a tātou katoa Hui ē! Tāiki ē!

So I really appreciate people coming this morning. I'm just going to reiterate some of our housekeeping rules, which is please keep your self muted if you can. It's lovely to see a few pictures on screen. So thank you to those who have your cameras on, but from time to time we might need to turn some cameras off if it overwhelms teams.

We do record these sessions, so just be aware that. We will respond to messages in the chat as best we are able. And if time allows, we will do some question and answers at the end. But that isn't always the case. So with those rules covered, what I'm going to do is just start sharing my screen, which always takes a second.

OK. So I'm just looking-- excellent. I believe that should be visible to people now. [INAUDIBLE] need to start being able to get it to move. There we go. So just for our agenda today, we'll start off as we usually do with a brief update on where we're at with the program, how things are tracking along. And then the substantive parts of the discussion today is firstly around the public health order, which Rachel McKay is--

[INAUDIBLE] yeah.

And then--

[INAUDIBLE]

Sorry, I just-- all people just to mute the microphones please. That's awesome. Then I'm going to cover off some of the information on what is described as a third-primary dose for people who are immunocompromised. Then hopefully, we'll have time for a bit of a celebration around the awesome work that occurred on super-- Oh, I put Sunday. It was Saturday.

My apologies. I was twittering with the slides just before we started. That of course, it's Super Saturday. Although, I hope you all had an awesome Sunday as well. And then we'll do what we can with questions and answers and wrap up sharply before 12 o'clock.

So as is our tradition, here is a slide. And people will immediately see the particularly long light blue bar that sits over last Saturday when we achieved over 130,000 vaccinations in a single day. That's over 3% of the eligible population. And I can tell you that when we were first planning this work back in January, we never thought we'd get to that number in a single day. So, awesome work, and we'll cover that more later.

We really do need to have a continuous--

How is everyone finding [INAUDIBLE]

[INAUDIBLE] We do need to have a really sharp focus on people who haven't yet had a first dose. And that's particularly people who are Maori, which continues to be behind where the first dose rates are for the rest of the country. So we know that everyone has continued to work hard on that. And there are more and more funding announcements to support that effort, but it really should be all of our priority.

OK. Just to reinforce what's now possible, and we have talked briefly about this before, but with CV tag making the decision-- a couple of months ago now-- that it is safe to administer vaccines at the same time, we're really looking to leverage the opportunity that we're going to have by having large numbers of people between the age of 55 and 32 come in for Pfizer vaccines to offer them the opportunity to have an MMR dose.

So a lot of you will be aware of and potentially involved in the Ministry of Health's campaign, which was now a couple of years ago prior to COVID when we were really advocating to offer people who hadn't previously been vaccinated with MMR a dose. And that's focusing on that age group between 15 and 32 and 30. You'll see on this slide here it talks about 12 months to 32-years old. The reason why the focus will shift somewhat is because we have seen a reduction in vaccination rates since the pandemic began.

So children are eligible for MMR are from 12 months. And now, obviously, those people who at the start of the campaign were 30 are now 32. So we still want them to receive an MMR vaccine. I was going to do a shout out to my friends who were involved in to [INAUDIBLE] over in Eastern [INAUDIBLE] to [INAUDIBLE] or [INAUDIBLE]. They've already set up their websites where they're advocating for their young people to take up the opportunity of having an MMR at the same time as one of their Pfizer COVID vaccines.

My apologies for not giving a shout out to others who may already be doing that, but that was just one example I was aware of. So the Ministry of Health and the BAU vaccination team is going to be communicating with DHBs likely to be next week, just around a restart of the program. But obviously, I can't-- that will be coming. And from that point, we're really looking for people to see how they might use this opportunity to boost our MMR vaccination rates I just wanted to cover that off today.

I think now because it is such a meaty subject and covers so many people, I'll just hand over to Rachel McKay. And I'm not sure if you've got a presentation or are you talking to this? So what I'll do is I'll stop sharing my screen for a second and let Rachel start talking about the public health order.

Kia ora, Joe. Morena te whanau, ko Rachel Mckay ahau I am the director national contracts here in the COVID Vaccination Immunization Program. And I've been gifted the opportunity to lead the implementation of the mandatory health order. I had a presentation but I'm thoughtful that a number of you onscreen would have seen it at the webinar yesterday. So I thought rather than replicate that, I'll just talk you through the key points and also because this is moving really quickly, just talk you through what progress has been made following that webinar yesterday.

So there's a bit of background-- issue via where on the 11th of October, Minister Hipkins announced that the COVID-19 public health response vaccinations order 2021 is going to be updated to require a new set of workers in the health and disability sector to be fully vaccinated by the 1st of December this year. So there's a lot of work going on in the background. The order is not yet gazetted, so it is still in draft. And it's due to be gazetted tomorrow, Friday the 22nd, coming into effect 11:59pm on Monday the 25th of October. So Labor Day.

Staff and all workers that are covered under the order are due to have had their first vaccination by the 30th of October and be fully vaccinated by the 1st of December. So I just want to acknowledge these are incredibly tight timelines. And also because the order's still in draft, we don't know exactly what it's going to land until we see it come through tomorrow.

We're sharing as much information with you as we can as we progress. In terms of that, I'll just talk you through who's covered and the order. One of the things I do want to point out is that health workers were prioritized very early on in the sequencing framework under group two, so they have had the opportunity to be vaccinated for a number of months.

So I just want to recognize that those that are not yet vaccinated we're probably needing to deal with some issues around hesitancy, Christians, et cetera. So it is a complex situation being dealt with in a really, really short timeline. And I want to thank you for your support around that.

So in terms of the--

You've gone on to mute, Rachel.

Thank you.

That's a bit weird.

We're having the gremlins in the room. So I was just going to cover off the working assumptions of who's currently covered and the order and its current drafting that we are aware of. So the order includes three key groups-- the first one is regulated professions currently registered under the HPCA regulations. And we assume-- a working assumption on that is that it will include all of those people whether they're front facing or not.

Second group it covers are non-regulated professions in the following health-care settings. So age residential care, home and community care services, local Maori health providers, Pacific health providers, and NGOs who provide health services. The disability sector is also included in the order. We understand at this stage that individual family support members are not included. But again, this is just our working assumption at the moment.

The order also includes not just that there's a roll cut and there's-- I guess you call it site aspect to it. So it includes people who are in frequent contact-- face-to-face contact-- or are in close proximity to health care workers providing a health service or they work with a health service as providers. They do not necessarily provide a health service themselves, but their role with [AUDIO OUT] contact or engagement with those providing the health services and is considered tied to a role within the healthcare setting.

So probably a couple of really good examples of that would be someone who's working retail part of the community pharmacy or maybe the receptionist in a doctor's surgery setting. So hopefully, that provides a little bit of explanation to who is included in the group as we understand it at the moment. Some of the key [INAUDIBLE] someone [AUDIO OUT] Can people just check they're on mute? That would be fantastic. Thank you.

A couple of key things is around the expectation of what happens if your staff are not vaccinated on the 31st of October. At the moment, the working assumption is that they would have to be stood down from that date. Now, we're really thoughtful this is a health sector under a lot of pressure. We have escalated the concerns that have been raised with us from the sector regarding it.

And so that is still-- the working assumption is the stand down will come into effect, but we have escalated the issue. So we will keep you posted if there is more movement on it. I can't guarantee anything, but we have definitely identified it as a key issue, and we've escalated as high as we can.

In terms of your roles-- most of you I'm assuming kind of are representatives or employees. One of the things you can really encourage your staff to do at this stage is go into the mycovidrecord.nz website, and they can download their vaccination status from there. It's a really simple website to use. I'm a complete technophobe, and I did it along with my husband and two teenagers in the weekend, and it literally took me about five minutes.

All you need to do is going to mycovidreport.nz and you just need some sort of ID, whether that's driver's license, passport, et cetera. If people don't have ID, they can then log on and set up an ID through the real me process. Basically just download on your phone, take a photo of it, print it off, whatever. And it just shows when you've received your doses of vaccination. If you're fully vaccinated, there's a green tick.

So what we are working on is digital certificates. They are not going to be ready until probably at least mid-November-- Mid-to-late November. And what we're working on there is that we'll include a QR code then you'll be able to print or save that into your smartphone, and Apple Wallet, or Google Play, et cetera. But in the meantime, the mycovidrecord is a really good starting point.

Digital certificates for travel will be available at the end of November. And they're going to have more personal information. So that can be used alongside passport if you are keen on flying anywhere. But the focus at this stage is obviously on the domestic information.

Just in terms of where we're at as well-- we are setting out a process around reporting and monitoring that's going through a signing process at the moment. What we have prep-- and this is still very, very much in draft, so it may change. But what we're proposing is a bit of a phased approach to that. So we'll get you a bit more information as it comes to light.

The other thing is following the webinar yesterday and with fingers crossed, the order is going to be gazetted tomorrow. We have scheduled a further webinar using different technology because we had some problems yesterday. But we're scheduling a further webinar tomorrow afternoon 3:00 to 4:00 PM where, hopefully, we will have the final version of the order and we can talk people through it.

If people have got any questions that they'd like us addressed in that session, please email them through to health orders at health.gov.nz And that way we're able to actually see what questions are coming through in advance and be prepared with the answers. So it just makes life a wee bit easier. And the other thing is for those of you who attended that webinar yesterday, apologies for the technical issues. We have gone through all of the questions that were raised and we've answered them so [INAUDIBLE] here and we will send that out to people today.

So just keeping people up to speed with it, there's a few comments in the chats. So I'll just have a quick look at those--

I'm going through them so you don't have to. But I might ask you a couple of questions to support those conversations now. So I think the one that I thought was good to get you to comment on. Sean has asked to clarify-- pharmacy shop staff who were unimmunized, would they be included in the order?

Yes, they would. We understand there would be up.

And also noting that Shirley Cain has asked about firefighters. And again, there's some of that detail-- as Rachel has indicated, some of that detail is in the cabinet paper, which is still yet to be fully signed off. So we appreciate the time frames that are short, but we won't be able to give every bit of detail now. And so I'm trying to make sure Rachel gets the questions, which I think she will be able to answer.

Shirley, we're not sure at the moment whether firefighters are included or not. We have raised it as a question. We do know that corrections has very recently been included in the order as a late addition. But we will know, obviously, once it's signed off whether the fire fighters are in there as well. I just want to pick up on what Nigel said regarding the-- if you have to stand staff down-- it's quite a hard sentence to say. If you have to stand staff down, what you need to do is follow all due employment processes as well.

So the idea there is you would need to try and see if you can redeploy staff into a non-front facing role. There is likely to be a very, very small exemptions process. And the exemptions process would be for anyone who is contraindicated to be able to take the Pfizer vaccine. But we based on clinical information, that is a really, really tiny growth.

And in which case, there would obviously need to be other measures in place for those people who clinically can't take the Pfizer vaccine until such times as we've got another vaccine available in New Zealand, and it will be using PPA, et cetera. We are also working on an exceptions process. Recognizing the pressure in the workforce, the exceptions process-- and we've picked up what's used in the border order at the moment, but that's basically around from what we call supply chain.

Or in this case, it's probably an HR personnel service chain requirement that if there is going to be significant clinical impact, we could look at it in exceptions process for certain individuals. What I want to note here, though, is if that comes through based on what happens in the border, it is an onerous process. As the employer, you are required to name the individual. You're required to do quite an extensive explanation of why they should be given exception to continue working in an unvaccinated way.

And at the moment, the border exceptions are individually signed off by the minister. So we're obviously looking at the process here because the numbers for health would be significantly higher than the border around that process. So again, we will keep you updated as quickly and as soon as we can as more of this information gets landed and comes to life.

Now, lots of great questions coming in and what I'm going to do to try and help Rachel through this, I think we will probably need to set a time limit on it. But I'll continue to moderate. I'll ask Rachel some more questions, and we'll keep going a couple more minutes. So please feel free to keep typing. So there's an excellent question. I think Catherine has covered it off and I think somebody else earlier. Joe, what are we doing about people who've been fully vaccinated overseas and have proof of that and how that can be included?

My understanding is in the order, there is a list of vaccines that are approved, so to speak. And my understanding that this is still very much in draft. So that may change. It's obviously Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Janssen, not sure if there's any more, but there is a list of approved vaccines that would be listed in the order. If someone was vaccinated with say, Sputnik, that probably wouldn't be acceptable and they'd need to be vaccinated here.

I think what I've heard is it's likely to go down the line of if you've been vaccinated by any vaccine that is approved within [INAUDIBLE] then that covers us in the future. Now, there was another question about will there be a non-mRNA vaccine option for those unwilling to have the Pfizer, which is an mRNA vaccine?

All I can say is that it's a work in progress at the moment, so I can't say any more than that.

Right. It is something that is being looked at. But we simply don't have that option at the moment. OK, there is a slight slowing to the questions that are coming in. I'm just going to ask this one from Leander. Is the employer responsible for monitoring compliance with the order or is the Ministry of Health managing a register for those who are covered?

Yes and yes. So what we're proposing at this stage-- and this hasn't been signed off. What we're proposing at this stage is that the employer is actually the responsible party. But what we are looking at doing is moving to a register over a period of time if that process is signed off. So effectively, using the border worker testing register we have at the moment, but recognizing it's going to take time to get everyone into their system.

So that's why there's real value in having your staff with it mycovidreport because then you've got that information on hand. What we are doing is we're working particularly with larger providers where we can [INAUDIBLE] observe things to see if we can support you with access to, for example, the information in CIO, which is where your staff's vaccination records will be. Under the Health Privacy System, we cannot give you that access until the order is visited. So that's something that we're working on in the background as well to see if we can expedite that. So there's that process. Absolutely, we will be setting up a register process as well. That's the intention. So that's going through a sign up process at the moment.

Now, I'm just going to come to Caroline's question about how recent the vaccination needs to be. And at the moment there is no ruling on how recent. You just need to have been vaccinated. And when I drop into the conversation around the dose for Pfizer, I will touch upon where we're at with boosters.

But the general message at the moment is yes, there is some reduction in antibody levels as you get further away from when you were vaccinated, but the data is coming out that despite the length of time and despite that drop in antibody levels, people are still not getting really sick if they've been fully vaccinated. And they're still not being admitted to hospital, and there's definite reduction in mortality.

So I think we just need to be really clear on that. Is that the lived experience shows that there is still good protection in terms of your personal effects of catching COVID over six months after your vaccination. Now, there, was a question that came through about enforcing the order from Andrew, and I'm going to see if Rachel feels she is in a position to answer that at this point.

My understanding is WorkSafe is the responsible body for enforcement of the order.

Excellent. Thank you. And Sandy has kindly put in the health orders email address that a number of people had asked for. So that's there. The people are wondering that webinar that you've offered to, is there a time?

There is that 3:00 to 4:00 PM tomorrow afternoon. What we are doing as we haven't sent out the formal invitation, we think there's an email that went out last night that said, just there's a placeholder in your diaries. Please just book out 3:00 to 4:00 if you want to join the webinar. We're just getting the technology set up today and then we'll send an invitation out.

OK, , so I'm going to take a breath-- let Rachel take a breath because she's coming back for Super Saturday afterwards and just say thank you for your questions. We know that this is a hugely complex area. Certainly, the intent of the policy is absolutely right because it's about protecting the client's, patients, and everyone, consumers who are coming into our services. They have a right to be able to access safe treatment. And we believe that will do that.

But we also acknowledge it is hugely complex to operationalize and that many of you will be at the sharp end of this. So we will continue to be as responsive as we can to all of your questions. Right. I'll just ask somebody to just spotlight me. OK, with reluctance, I'm going to go back to the PowerPoint presentations and move into something around Pfizer third dose and what our plan is around that.

Acknowledging that we've gone from an issue that covers hundreds of thousands of people because that's how many people in the health care workforce. And we didn't even touch upon education, which are also covered. Their time frames are slightly different. We're now coming down to a group which is far, far smaller.

And when we say Pfizer third dose-- and apologies I haven't updated the title of this slide-- this is the people who are severely immunocompromised. And I think it's very, very important that we highlight the fact that this is severely immunocompromised. So we've got a couple of slides here just so you're not just having to look at my face.

So the COVID technical advisory group has recommended that individuals age 12 and older with the severe immunocompromised receive a third primary dose of COVID vaccine. This is because people who have these conditions have never achieved as good state of response to the Pfizer vaccine in terms of the immunity they've built up from their first two injections.

So as I was touching upon a couple of minutes ago, this is definitely not a booster dose for this group. This is a dose to help them to reach the same level of immunity that all of us have benefited from only having two vaccinations. So it's just bringing them up to the same level as the rest of us. And I know that that is a complex thing for people to get their heads around, particularly in a time where we see countries in the northern hemisphere go in with a booster dose.

But this is very definitely different, and we'll just have to wait around further discussions around booster doses. And please rest assured, those discussions are happening. They will be at some point in the future, but it's definitely not now.

So the third dose that we're offering to people with these conditions is optional, but highly recommended. The definitions of who falls within these groups has been sent out to clinicians across the country. If you are somebody who believes that you should have received that information but hasn't yet, please do reach out to the program, and we can ensure that it's there. But the advice is on platforms such as health pathways. There'll be links to it through the Athena app so that people can know exactly who's in there.

And there is quite a lot of complexity as well. It's not everybody who has taken a bit of steroid like prednisone at some point. It's very specific about the doses that they were on and the timing of those doses compared with when they had their first and second vaccinations. So the-- sorry, just catching up on things here. Go on to the next one.

So the third primary dose must be administered at least eight weeks following a second dose. And the detail that's in here is covered in the order and the information that we've sent out to clinicians. But because this is an off-label use-- and we've touched upon before-- at the moment, Pfizer have not submitted an application to medsafe for the Pfizer COVID vaccine to be used in this way. And therefore, it's off-the-label use.

And that's why we have to have a slightly more complex process, which involves a person being identified whether they self-identify-- and that's checked by a medical practitioner-- or whether we've been able to notify them that they're eligible for this through either general practice or DHB systems. They will need to have a prescription so that the vaccinator can give that dose. And they will also need to sign a written consent form, which is co-signed by the medical practitioner.

And then if that person is not having that dose administered within that practitioner's own facility, the consent form will need to be taken from the prescriber's place of work to the vaccination clinic, and then co-signed by the clinical lead from that vaccination clinic. Now, this may seem like a hugely complex process-- and I guess it is-- but this is what we've been advised by health legal at the moment. And we'll see if that changes over time.

But we do need to stick to this process that we have at the moment, which is really about ensuring that this third dose is offered to the right people and that when we do it, they're fully consented and informed about why they're having it, and that it's in a safe environment. This doesn't apply to-- so this isn't something where household contacts will also have to have a third dose. This is about the individual.

And it's not about increasing the level of protection in a ring around that individual. So if people come to you and say, well I live with somebody who is severely immunocompromised. Do I need a third dose that would affect in effect the booster dose for them? And therefore, it's not part of the program at the moment.

And again, just reiterating that all of this stuff is being published online, the Immunization Handbook, and the advice from IMAC is also being made sure it aligns with everything. The United Against COVID website is being updated from today. So that tomorrow is now today, hence we're talking to you about it now. There will need to be-- before we head into that, I'm just going to stop sharing my screen. There are some operational details that still need to be worked through.

If the specialist who is approached by a person who fits within this group works in a DHB, then we don't have any funding issues to deal with there. But if the person goes to their general practitioner for their script, then we want this to be a service which is free for that person because they've chosen to be in this group. And we continue to want the access to be not inhibited by a cost or a co-payment. So we're currently setting up the payment mechanism with DHBs so that general practices who are providing this service-- the prescription and the consent form-- will be paid for the consultation when that occurs.

In terms of giving that actual third dose, the provider that's giving it will be giving it in the same way as they give any other vaccinations. And therefore, they will just receive the usual price per dose payment that they receive when they give any vaccine. And this isn't something that will just happen in general practice. It could be that these people, once they have their consent form and their prescription, may well present to other providers, such as community pharmacy, et cetera.

Now, I'm just going to look at Rachel and see if she's going to be able to do for me what I did for her and just moderate any questions that have come in. Or if she's not, I would just ask Isabel to do that.

I have been multitasking a little bit.

OK, I'm going to look.

Oh, here we go. Yep, now we've got them. We're under control. OK. So can prescription and consent be completed with the nurse practitioner also, Jerry?

Yeah, this is something I am very keen to make sure it does happen because I appreciate the program has made a couple of-- have omitted to acknowledge the expertise that nurse practitioners have. I'm going to go back and confirm that. I sincerely hope that that will be the case because they have all the skill set that is needed to be able to do this perfectly well.

And Jane Wilson asks, will all GPs be eligible for a booster?

Thank you, Jane, for illustrating the point that as soon as we start talking about a third dose, people immediately start linking into boosters. So if and when boosters are available, yes, GPs will be able to have those boosters. And they're likely to be part of the group that would be offered them first, but this is not a booster. This is allowing people who are severely immunocompromised to reach the same excellent level of protection.

Goodness, I'm sounding a bit marketing-like there, aren't I? The same excellent level of protection that I benefit from my two vaccinations. So totally different things. But yes, we would anticipate that if and when booster doses are introduced, health workforce-- let's not just talk about GPS because we can be an arrogant bunch. I say that as a GP myself. It's about all health care workers will be eligible.

Thank you, Joe. Rebecca has a couple of questions. One is has consideration being given to residents in aged residential care getting a third primary dose? And question two, is Pfizer less effective in the elderly?

OK, so I'm not going to drift too much into the questions around is Pfizer less effective in the elderly because that will take me outside of my comfort zone just now. What we do know is it is effective in the elderly. And some vaccinations do tend to be slightly less effective in the elderly in general, not the Pfizer in particular. Just because the immune system-- their immune systems are a little bit older. Now, your first part about this--

My first question is the consideration from [INAUDIBLE]

So it's not a consideration at the moment, unless those residents are severely immunocompromised. Again, that falls into the booster category. So it's whether they need to have a booster, and that discussion is ongoing.

Right. A further question, there hasn't been-- it's a common question-- hasn't been additional guidance for clinicians to answer risk questions AEFI fee evidence, et cetera. Can we get these notes please for HCW

Yeah, at the moment, we've got no reason to believe when given at eight weeks, the third dose does increase the incidence of AEFI's And so that's-- they haven't been given within New Zealand, but obviously, there will be emerging evidence coming from countries like the United Kingdom and Israel where the third doses are being given. But at the moment, we don't have any definitive data. So it's hard to share stuff that we don't currently have. But the post-event team will be working with medsafe and calm to ensure that alerts are sent out if there are any particular concerns.

Fantastic. Thanks, Joe. There's a bit of a conversation around consent forms, but I think it's probably answered itself. That's from L. N. Nigel. So please let us know if there's any issues with it. [INAUDIBLE] has asked, will boosters also been mandated under the health order? Not that I'm aware of in terms of the health order we're currently working on at the moment. But who knows what's going to happen down the track?

Yeah, it's a work in progress.

So another couple of ques-- one more question. Will pharmacists, prescribers, and clinical nurse specialist prescribers also be able to prescribe the third dose for appropriate people?

I will take that to our clinical lead who has been [INAUDIBLE] I know that there was a discussion yesterday, which I was involved in suggesting that if you are a prescriber [AUDIO OUT] Then if it's within their scope of practice, then I would see no reason why they can't. It's really about being able to have that quality conversation with a person and having a good understanding of the risks and benefits.

Thanks, Joe. And a useful link that David's popped on around Pfizer protection versus hospitalization and death falls to 56% after seven months in one of the studies. And he's popped a link there.

Yeah, thanks David. And just to acknowledge-- what the COVID vaccine technical advisory group will be doing is looking at multiple studies. And yet certainly, there are some studies out there. They'll go through-- they will look at those studies, ascertain how applicable they are to a New Zealand context. So thank you for the link, and rest assured that the technical advisory group doesn't look at all of these studies that are coming up.

And there is a hand up that in my screen it says plus 71. It's Jolene whose got a question.

OK, just so you're not only hearing myself and director's voices, we'll have one question. And if we can make that the last question on this topic, and then we'll move into a bit of a celebration of Super Saturday. Jolene, did you want to turn your mic on? OK, so maybe it's an accidental hand or maybe our technology is not supporting us. Apologies there to Jolene.

Sorry, Jill, you've just asked about the lack of data. So I'll just take that quickly. I think it's just that we don't have New Zealand data yet about the [INAUDIBLE] and the adverse event rate with the third dose because we haven't been giving them yet. But we are monitoring the situation that is existing in countries where a third dose is currently being given.

Nigel, I'm going back to what I said just then. You missed the consent release. Just to say that-- so I think you're referring to the consent that I said needed to be obtained. A form is available online, which is the consent form. We want to use a standard consent form across all settings. Once that's been signed, if the person is being vaccinated in the same facility. And obviously, that form doesn't need to be uploaded into CIR. It just needs to be held in the medical records within that facility.

If they're going somewhere else, then the prescriber will need to hang on to a copy but give a copy to the person who's going for their vaccination somewhere else. And then it will become the responsibility of that vaccination site to store it as you would your normal medical records once it's been signed off by the clinical need for that site. And I will definitely call it a day there. And I will hand over to Rachel.

Fantastic. Thank you, Joe. So I've got a real privilege to thank you all about Super Saturday. I think the country was ready for a bit of a party, be it virtual in some places. But we had an amazing turnout around the motto just for some facts and figures for you. It was obviously the biggest vaccination day we've had. We vaccinated 100-- oh, we didn't. You did. Vaccinated 130,002. And those two are very important. They've got us over the line. People on Saturday.

So following up from Super Saturday. And this Sunday data I'm looking at now. 85% of New Zealanders had had their first dose, so that will be increased in the last few days. And that was an overall country. It was a 2% increase on Super Saturday. So it's a significant boost. Basically, we vaccinated 2% of the eligible population in one day. 65% of the population were fully vaccinated. So that was as is a result of Super Saturday.

And a huge shout out to all of the teams out there who are doing the vaccinating, all of those community groups and businesses that wrap their arms around the teams doing the vaccinating, and a special Thanks to all those people who rolled up their sleeves to get vaccinated, particularly those who were hesitant. So what we are doing is we want to build on the momentum of that. So we're encouraging people to continue to go and check with friends and [INAUDIBLE] help answer questions, support them by going to vaccination with them, et cetera.

And some of the numbers-- I just thought you might be interested. [? Canberra ?] district started Super Saturday with the lowest first dose rate in the country. But by the end of the day, they hit the biggest daily percentage increase for first doses given. Shout out for some of those very innovative places like the Dreamliner in Auckland, which is obviously a big popular site. Highest first dose vaccination rates the top ones were the park and fly at Auckland airport.

Pack and Save in Napier did an awesome job in the Christchurch arena car park. Lots and lots going on in terms of Maori data. And I have a photo here that I'd love to share with you if someone could-- I'll fiddle with it in the background later and we'll technically put it up. And we had permission from this group to share the photo with you. It is the Dannevirke chapter of the Mongrel Mob who have all been vaccinated. So there's a neat photo of all of these guys in their work shirts, and their pictures, and everything outside the gang pad with the vaccination team.

So when we think of our target audiences, you guys have absolutely nailed it out there. In terms of Maori data across the country, over 10,000 Maori went out and got their first dose. So that was a huge jump of 5.4% since last Sunday and Sunday before Super Saturday. Over 65% of the population or 375,000 people have now had their first dose. And 250,000 of those were fully vaccinated.

Super Saturday absolutely smashed the record for highest number of Maori vaccinations. So the previous record was just over 10,000 aimed for both first and second doses in a single day. And we more than doubled that on Super Saturday. So by ethnicity, Maori also had the highest proportion of first doses on Saturday, with 50% of all Maori vaccinations being first dose. So Maori vaccinations.

Another shout out to the Hawke's Bay. They jumped 3% on Super Saturday with over 1,100 [INAUDIBLE] be having their first dose. Pacific had a really good as well. So Super Saturday saw a record of 12,274 Pacific people receive vaccinations, 34% of those being their first dose, and the highest number of doses given so far and one day by far the previous record was 6,000. So massive contribution towards the country's effort in vaccinating 150,000 people there.

Lots and lots of individual community milestones-- Tongan community had a huge milestone. They now have over 80% of their community have had their first dose. 6% of the Tongan community around New Zealand turned out on Super Saturday. So it was the highest percentage of any ethnic group. Also close to a milestone of the Samoan community who are currently sitting at 79% first dose. And we only need about 1,000 more people to get to the 80% milestone there.

And certainly, a huge shout out to the Super Saturday vaccination centers with highest first dose vaccinations for Pacific People, which was South Seas, Otara, and Park and Fly, in Mangare, Pacifica Family Group in Manurewa work in Tongan health society and the Onehunga. And together, they gave out over 1,000 first doses.

We've had some fantastic feedback from some of the community groups who engaged with us. So DOC for example now have a really good relationship in South Canterbury and will be supporting their rural vaccination clinics in coming weekends. RRT, which is an organization I've never even heard of. But they do a lot of really cool stuff with sausage sizzles in fundraising for volunteer groups and supporting things like relay for life and things.

Over a very short time frame, they set up 19 sausage sizzles around the country, supporting different vaccination sites and gave away some ridiculous number of sausages. It was well in the thousands. And some really neat statistics came out of there as well. And I think talking with some of those businesses and community groups, they really enjoyed being involved. So I guess it's just they're hippy, they want to reach out, they want to keep their engagement. So if you've started an engagement with someone locally, absolutely keep it going.

Well, Thanks, Andy. She's [INAUDIBLE] the photo. [INAUDIBLE] So yeah, just a huge shout out to you all-- huge shout out to Doctor Ashley with his boogie in Porirua. He had a lovely time doing that. And a huge shout out to the team who pulled the Vaxathon together. I think it's probably fair to say there was a couple of things that we didn't know. 24 hours before it started, we didn't have any acts lined up. So there was a quick call around, and people in the community just came to the stage, which was awesome.

And we had to pull out all sorts of international-made processes to manage to do a prize draw because the business sector got right behind this. And within less than 72 hours, they had contributed more than $0.5 million in cash prizes, which will be managed by the Tindall foundation are now being donated to different community groups and we also received probably the same, if not more in other prizes for people. So we had to quickly build a system around all of it as well. So yeah, huge thing thanks to everyone across the world to all the work you did. And hopefully-- I know it was hard work, but hopefully, you actually had some fun doing it. So thank you.

Great, Rachel. Yeah, thanks very much. And it's nice to have a couple of minutes just to celebrate something. And I just want to acknowledge through groups like this. There is so much detail we have to cover here, and there is so much pressure on all of us to deliver. Hopefully, at the Ministry-- and we are showing our gratitude to you when you ask us questions.

I know it's very easy when we're tired and have been working at this for-- what is it now? 20, 21 months? to not be as receptive to questions that were asked, not be as empathetic as we should do because often, questions are asked because people are frightened or worried about the direction we're going in. So please always give us feedback if we're not appearing to be responsive to the needs that you have working out in the community because we know how much that you contribute to your communities and how important it is that you feel included in these conversations so that you can advocate positively for the vaccine where you work. So just finishing off with that.

I would like to thank you all for coming today. We will go back through and check in to make sure that we've at least attempted to answer those questions that we had. I'm going to put a call out now that if people do have any other images and things that they would like to share of Super Saturday or anything else that you're doing in your workplaces to support the vaccination campaign-- I've not always been available for these webinars recently. But we did have a period of time where we were trying to get you to have the opportunity to showcase your awesome work.

So once again, if there's some stuff that you're doing out there, particularly say to promote vaccination rates in our priority populations, whether that be Maori, Pasifica People living with disabilities, please reach out to us because we'd love to give you an opportunity to front this instead of it just being the Ministry pushing information. With that, I am going to close our meeting with karakia and wish you all a lovely afternoon. And thank you for your continuing mercy.

Kua mutu a mātou mahi Mō tēnei wā Manaakitia mai mātou katoa O mātou hoa O mātou whānau Aio ki te aorangi.

And have a lovely afternoon.

Kia ora, ka kite.

Join the COVID-19 vaccination teams

We’re seeking interest from those who’d like to be part of the COVID-19 vaccination workforce.

Both paid and volunteer opportunities are available in various locations, and we’re looking for skills from both health and non-health backgrounds.

Read more about joining the workforce
Email: [email protected]


COVID-19 Immunisation Register (CIR)

The web-based national COVID-19 Immunisation Register (CIR) is up and running. It’s being used by vaccinators to record COVID-19 vaccinations. Once a vaccination has been entered into the CIR, automatic notifications are sent to Patient Management Systems (PMS).

The CIR is only for COVID-19 vaccinations and all other vaccinations should continue to be recorded on the National Immunisation Register.

Accessing the CIR

Vaccinators need their own individual work email addresses to use CIR. You can’t use a practice-wide email address. This is because important information such as login credentials, password resets and important vaccinator updates are communicated via the email you provide, so a shared email address won’t work.
 


Reporting Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI)

We encourage you to report any AEFI experienced by people who have had the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • If it’s within the initial observation period – report this in the COVID-19 Immunisation Register.
  • If it’s any other suspected AEFI – report this using the COVID-19 reporting form on the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM) website. You don’t have to be certain that the vaccine caused the event in order to report it.

Medsafe safety reports

Medsafe then closely monitors and releases a safety report showing the AEFI data each week. This shows the most common side effects that people in New Zealand experience after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Medsafe safety reports: Adverse events following immunisation with COVID-19 vaccines

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