The offer of Southland DHB Covid-19 surplus vaccinations has been taken up by Invercargill professional career firefighters over the past two days.

Invercargill Local Secretary Aaron Ramsey has worked with FENZ and the Ministry of Health to set up a text message system for off-duty firefighters to access surplus Covid-19 vaccinations. The system is set up to maintain confidentiality and the voluntary nature of vaccination.  Those firefighters that do not wish to be vaccinated at this time, or miss out on the opportunity to access surplus vaccinations, will be offered vaccinations when the roll-out to FENZ firefighters commences across the country shortly.

FENZ firefighters that respond to MIQ facilitates and undertake medical response have been included in the MOH Group 2 category of high risk frontline workers and people living in high risk places.  The date for the FENZ personnel to be offered the vaccine as part of Group 2 rollout (not just surplus vaccines) is yet to be confirmed.

In the interim some DHBS will be offering Group 2 firefighters the opportunity to take up surplus vaccines.  There are strict protocols for the transportation and storage of vaccines so vials have to be used within a specified period.  The MOH conservatively estimated the number of vaccines per vial and as a result there are surplus vaccines in vials that need to be used. 

Invercargill was the first for our members to be offered the surplus vaccines and other Locals are now working with management and DHBs to put in systems that enable firefighters to be offered the surplus vaccines (sometimes at very short notice) without compromising confidentiality.  

FENZ and the NZPFU do not control when or how the surplus vaccines or the vaccination programme rollout occurs.  The Ministry of Health controls this programme and we are working to facilitate the voluntary offer of vaccinations consistent with members’ rights including confidentiality.

The NZPFU position and provision about the vaccination programme was published via https://www.nzpfu.org.nz/news/covid-19-vaccination-programme/

Information links

In unity,
Wattie Watson
National Secretary

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