Questions and answers from our COVID-19 Kōrero

These are the questions that came up in the chat panel of our Zoom conversation. We have answers to some of the questions, while others are still being supplied.

Questions raised and answered so far:

How does the vaccine work?

Provided online by Rachel MacKay MoH: If anyone is interested in how mRNA vaccines work - the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention is a useful site  

How are dates of vaccinations recorded?

From Dr Andrew Connolly MoH online: The date of vaccination must be recorded on the covid immunisation record on the computer used by the vaccinators.  This solves the problem of doctors forgetting to write it down.  This also records the details of the actual batch of vaccine used just in case any issues were raised later.

Will the 5 – 11 year old vaccination roll out (once approved) prioritise children with disabilities?

From Dr Andrew Connolly MoH online: Children are increasingly being infected and we also worry of the long-term effects of catching Covid.  Given how safe the vaccine is it is wise to offer to children There is a concern children like any of us could get long covid.  I do not know if any examples in NZ.  In New Zealand 20% of cases are aged 0-9. These also make up 7% of all admissions to hospital. It remains a vey serious risk for our children.

When you get a booster shot do you need to re-apply for vaccine pass or does boaster automatically get updated for my current pass?

Your pass is automatically updated

Where does the Office for Disability Issues sit now, and what will happen to ODI when MoH and MSD bed in next years?

As the new Ministry will have a disability system leadership role, the future role and position of the existing Office for Disability Issues (ODI) will need to be considered. Part of ODI’s existing role is to provide advice to Ministers and government agencies on disability issues, as well as coordinating implementation of the UNCRPD and the New Zealand Disability Strategy.

The question of whether ODI should be brought into the new Ministry is not straightforward. Historically, government Ministries have not always adequately incorporated the perspectives and needs of disabled people into their work. ODI currently holds an important independent advisory and advocacy role in government. The question about whether it is appropriate for ODI to be moved into the new Ministry requires careful consideration and full consultation with the disability community stakeholders familiar with ODI’s work.

Subject to Cabinet decisions on the establishment of the new Ministry, targeted consultation will be carried out on where ODI should sit within government to enable it to best perform and further enhance its role. Officials will provide advice to Cabinet in early 2022 on the outcomes of this consultation and recommendations on the future location of ODI.

(Source - paragraphs 48-50 (with Minor amendments): Disability System Transformation: establishing a Ministry for Disabled People and national implementation of the Enabling Good Lives approach (

How much communication does Ministry of Health have with families in home isolation?

From Dr Andrew Connolly MoH online: Contact varies depending on how well someone is doing and what their general health is like - for example young, fit, fully vaccinated and not needing welfare support might only need a call every few days after the first days have shown they are getting better.  For others, daily or even more frequently depending on needs

Wondering if there's any specific resources to disabled people who end up in supported isolation at home? Do their normal support workers have to be replaced by medically trained support workers?

From Geoff Cook MSD online: At the initial assessment MoH will ask if there are assistance needs and if there are, they will refer that through to MSD however some people may later find they have issues that they didn't at assessment, so we are also providing a dedicated 0800 number to those isolating to contact if they have need

From Andrew’s talk: “For New Zealanders with disabilities, we want the usual care providers to continue to deliver the care, albeit with masks and gloves. It is essential that people who need assistance should be able to seek that assistance from people they know and trust.“

Dear Minister please retrieve the actual wording from the convention ie "People With Disabilities" vs disabled people. we are fully participating, breathing and contributing people

The following information on terminology is from the NZ Disability Action Plan 2019 – 2023:

There are many words and terms that are used to identify disability.  The way these are understood differs.  For some of us, the term, “disabled people”, is a source of pride, identity and recognition that disabling barriers exist within society and not with us as individuals.  For others, the term, “people with disability”, has the same meaning and is important to those who want to be recognised as a person before their disability.

The current consensus, based on advice from the New Zealand Disability Strategy Revision Reference Group, is "disabled people”.  In future, it is possible the disability community will decide to revise the way to describe themselves.  If this happens, the language can be changed to reflect this.

As the vax efficacy is now touted to be 3 months, and it does not prevent catching covid or transferring it. And If it does what is claimed - to lessen the severity of cov 2, It seems more akin to taking pain relief or antibiotics than being a vaccine.

From Dr Andrew Connolly MoH online: The vaccine does a few things:

1. stops most getting covid

2. reduces the severity of the disease if we do catch it despite vaccination

3. Hugely reduces our chances of passing the disease on to others

4. Appears to significantly reduce spread within a household

What does IDI stand for?

Shama from ODI online: IDI stands for Integrated data infrastructure - a large research database. More info here:

How is information on adverse reactions, and potentially deaths recorded?

Provided online by Rachel MacKay MoH: thanks for question about adverse reaction monitoring. Here's a link to the website page on side effects in NZ.

If people get a side effect they are encouraged to report this through CARM (University of Otago)

From Dr Andrew Connolly MoH online: Any death is investigated, and would be put to the Coroner to determine if vaccine was a factor.

What about food parcels?

Online from Kirk Sector West Auckland: Just so people know that the Food Bank Supplies are funded from the Food Security Funding for the general clients.  The Welfare package through the SIQ (Supported Isolation Quarantine) Is a totally separate system and is for Covid positive person/s only.

Other questions

Here is a list of other questions that came through the online chat. These have been forwarded to the appropriate agencies and we will publish their answers as they come in. 

  • Is there data on rural regions?
  • Is there any data on the proportion of people who have caught COVID-19 who are disabled?
  • Is there a recommended protocol for the treatment of COVID - 19?
  • When looking at the rates of vaccination for people living with an impairment, much of the challenge we have recognized has actually come from reluctance by their Whanau - in other words they are being prevented by decisions others are making - have you got any suggestions as to how we could address this.  In our experience the people themselves have wanted it - but have been prevented by guardianship or filial relationships?
  • Do we have Taikura Trust or some other group who not only support disabled people to have the vaccination, but also support if they have reactions. Most get headaches etc but others have to have one or two days with more severe reaction... all good at the end... but that's two days out of action?
  • What are other providers doing when they have an unvaccinated person living in a residential situation with very vulnerable people? In our case the person is freely walking around the community and mainly mixing with anti vax people.
  • Where to access masks if you have trouble with keeping them on your face?
  • How many exemptions have been granted so far?
  • How do we talk to people about mask exemptions in community gatherings, for example: churches. Simple advice needed for people who are checking vaccine passes?
  • Will future booster shots be mandatory, and if so for how many years?
  • Any data on Long Covid impact?
  • Does anyone know about the use of those quick tests for the person non vaxed so that you are sure they haven't picked up anything.

Tell us what you think

Page last updated: