Disability COVID-19 Vaccine Update - March 2021

Disability COVID-19 Vaccine Update - March 2021

 

Kia ora koutou katoa.

A range of information is now available on the Ministry's website that outlines the vaccine rollout's next stages, and I wanted to make sure that you had access to them. You can find the resources here: COVID-19: Vaccines | Ministry of Health NZ and COVID-19: When you can get a vaccine | Ministry of Health NZ. You can also find an online tool that outlines when people in New Zealand can expect to get vaccinated on the Covid-19 website here: Find out when you can get a vaccine | Unite against COVID-19.

Adri Isbister, Deputy Director-General, Disability

 

 

The disability workforce and disabled people who require daily support from multiple carers or who live in the community in a communal care environment and their immediate family carers are included in 'group 2' of the vaccination rollout. Some support workers in group 2 will start to get their vaccinations before the end of this month and people with disabilities towards the end of April.

More detailed information for disabled people who receive disability support services; and the workforce that provides those services is being developed; this will include information about why, where and how vaccinations will be available. You can also expect to see some Q&A documents about the vaccine and how you can access it. 

We are working swiftly to ensure people have all the information they need, so they are well prepared before they are invited to get their vaccination.  

A range of different options is being explored to ensure that vaccinations are offered to include a disabled persons "bubble"; (i.e. their support workers and immediate family). The Ministry is also considering options for delivering vaccines individually (for those in IF/Supported living situations) or collectively (i.e. For one or more group homes or individuals). 

If people feel more comfortable being vaccinated by their regular GP or nurse, this will also be an option. 

A range of community-based venues as potential vaccine sites are also being explored, including mobile clinics, community pop-ups, the marae and other community venues, including day programme sites.

We expect that DHBs will soon begin to collect the contact details for many of those in group 2, starting with details about the staff who support our at risk population. People will then start contacting you and/or your carers to discuss possible vaccination appointment times and locations for your workforce. Providers should now begin to think about the most appropriate options for those people they support and begin to discuss these with their workforce in advance of requests to nominate preferred approached ahead of vaccinator teams making contact.

For workers providing support services, it is expected that employers will receive general information about the numbers of staff vaccinated in their agency (as part of their Health and Safety requirements). However, employers will only receive specific information about individual staff who are vaccinated if a staff person authorises this. No one will provide your personal information without your consent. 

In the meantime, you can find more information about vaccines and rollout of the vaccination programme here: COVID-19 vaccine information sheets | Unite against COVID-19

Vaccination and Employment Relations

This link provides detailed guidance for employers concerning vaccination-related issues and good employer practice: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the workplace » Employment New Zealand.

Useful resources: 

  1. General overview pageon the Unite Against COVID-19 site
  2. Protecting Aotearoa– summary of the rollout plan and how it will work. Helpful summary and key messages. 
  3. A3 summary of the rollout plan– summarises each of the four Groups that will progressively receive vaccines. 

To stay up-to-date:

Sign up for the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 Vaccine Newsletter here: COVID-19: Vaccine updates for the health sector | Ministry of Health NZ

or the Unite Against COVID-19 Newsletter here: Social media and newsletters | Unite against COVID-19

Ngā mihi, 

Adri Isbister – Deputy Director-General Disability.

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