The NZPFU has been meeting with FENZ, and as part of the CTU delegation with relevant Government Ministers and the Director-General of Health, to discuss the issues for workers associated with the roll-out of a national vaccine programme. In both forums we have been pushing for the release of accurate and credible information on the type of vaccine, and the vaccination programme so that everyone including our members can make informed choices.
The Government is currently offering the Covid-19 vaccine to border and MIQ workers and their household contacts in the first phase of the planned national roll-out.
It is yet to be confirmed when firefighters and other FENZ personnel will be vaccinated but it is likely that at least some firefighters will be included in the second phase of the roll out of the 750,000 Pfizer and BioNTech (Comirnaty) vaccine. When, who and how is all dependent on the Ministry of Health determining the number of vaccines to be allocated to FENZ personnel. Depending on that information there may need to be levels of priority within FENZ’s personnel. In those circumstances the first priority will be for responders to MIQ and border facilities. It is not yet known when the families of FENZ personnel will be offered the vaccination.
It is important to understand that the Government has acknowledged that there is no evidence yet that the vaccine will stop transmission of the virus. The vaccine is to help protect the individual against Covid-19. The other strategies such as hygiene practices, staying at home if unwell and keeping a record of where we have been will continue.
The NZPFU has confirmed with FENZ the following:
The vaccination is voluntary.
Everyone has the right to make an informed choice. Information is key to making an informed choice. Everyone must be able to
access accurate and reliable information from a credible source on:
• the type of vaccine being offered
• how the vaccine was created,
• Medsafe’s assessment of the safety of the vaccine,
• how the vaccination works, the effectiveness of the vaccine against Covid-19 and its variants, and timeframes when vaccine would provide protection against the disease
• the warnings against vaccination for specified medical conditions,
• the results of clinical trials,
• any known or suspected side effects (including any information reported by the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring); and
• any credible and reliable international research.
Everyone has the right to keep their medical information confidential including whether they have chosen to be vaccinated or chosen not to
be vaccinated. FENZ is working on systems to ensure that privacy is maintained.
No one’s choice should be subject to vilification. There are many reasons why someone may choose to be, or choose not to be
vaccinated. There are also restrictions on who can be vaccinated and restrictions may change dependent on the type of vaccine. For
example (and dependent on the type of vaccine) there may be precautions such as first seeking medical advice or specific restrictions
applying to age groups, medical conditions and treatments, medications and supplements, or if pregnant or breastfeeding.
- The vaccination is free.
- FENZ information which will be updated as more information is confirmed can be accessed via https://portal.fireandemergency.nz/covid-19/resources/covid-19-vaccine-rollout/
- MoH information on the vaccine programme from the safety and approval process to getting a vaccine can be found at COVID-19: Vaccines | Ministry of Health NZ
- MoH information on the types of vaccines that the New Zealand Government has agreements for supply can be found at COVID-19: Types of vaccines | Ministry of Health NZ
- MoH information on the Pfizer and BioNTech (Comirnaty) vaccine can be found at COVID-19: Pfizer and BioNTech (Comirnaty) vaccine | Ministry of Health NZ
- Medsafe information on the Pfizer and BioNTech (Comirnaty) vaccine can be found at Consumer Medicine Information 2020 Template (medsafe.govt.nz)
We will keep members updated when MoH and FENZ confirm when and how our members will be offered the vaccination.