The NZPFU is expecting confirmation shortly that firefighters who respond to MIQs and undertake medical response will be included in the high-risk front line workers vaccination roll-out.
The NZPFU has been pushing for confirmation of when firefighters can expect to be offered a Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccination as part of the Government rollout. As professional career firefighters respond to MIQ facilities and medical response it is imperative that they are recognised by the Ministry as high risk health workers for the purposes of the Covid-19 vaccination. The NZPFU have repeatedly raised the lack of confirmation of the firefighters’ status in the Government’s vaccination plan with FENZ and has raised it with relevant Ministers and the Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield.
We understand that the status of firefighters who respond to MIQ facilities and undertake medical response has now been accepted by the Ministry of Health and the roll-out of the vaccination will be offered shortly.
In addition, some firefighters may be offered a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine earlier where DHB’s notify of surplus vaccinations as they are vaccinating Border and MIQ personnel and other high-risk front line health workers.
FENZ and the NZPFU representatives are currently working through the process to enable firefighters to voluntarily access surplus vaccinations. There are specific logistics that need to be managed in order to safely offer the surplus vaccinations. There are strict storage and handling protocols for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine which requires the vial to be used within a short time frame. DHBs have been reporting lower discard rates than expected so have been able to extract more doses per vial. That has resulted in surplus vaccinations that need to be used within the required protocols. Those offered the surplus vaccination also have to be scheduled within the required timeframe to receive the necessary second dose. In addition our representatives are working through the practicalities of firefighters being available to access those vaccinations including the implications if that is on-shift or off-shift. We will keep members informed.
The vaccination is voluntary and everyone has a right to keep their medical information confidential including whether or not they are vaccinated.
In preparation of being offered the vaccine, we encourage members to read the available information on the vaccine. Below are links to understand the Government vaccination plan and specific information about the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. If you have underlying medical conditions or personal health questions we advise members to discuss those with their GP so that an informed decision can be made.
The NZPFU position and provision about the vaccination programme was published via https://www.nzpfu.org.nz/news/covid-19-vaccination-programme/
- 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)