Vaccination FAQs for E tū members

These FAQ are collated using information from Unite Against COVID-19, the New Zealand Government, Ministry of Health, and The National DHB Bipartite Action Group. We will endeavour to update our FAQ as new information becomes available.

 

Who is getting vaccinated?

Border and MIQ workers will be the first group to receive the vaccine, as they are considered the group at highest risk. This will be followed by household contacts of these workers.

Border workers include:

  • Aviation cabin crew
  • Aviation cleaners
  • Border security
  • Customs
  • Customer-facing staff

MIQ workers include:

  • Security guards
  • Hotel workers, such as cleaners and maintenance workers

Please note: This list is not exhaustive and will change as per the Government’s roll out of the vaccine.

 

What does E tū think of the Government’s vaccination programme?

E tū supports the vaccination programme in accordance with public health advice, along with a rollout that is free, accessible to all, supportive and not coercive.

The more of us who receive the vaccine, the safer our community will be – including for those who cannot be vaccinated.

 

When do vaccinations start?

Vaccination for border and MIQ workers started on Saturday 20 February.

The vaccination schedule is as follows:

 

Vaccination Start Date DHB
Saturday 20 February Auckland
Waitematā
Counties Manukau
Monday 22 February Capital and Coast
Wednesday 24 February Canterbury
Friday 26 February Waikato
Saturday 27 February Lakes
Monday 1 March Northland
Bay of Plenty
Taranaki
Tairāwhiti
Hawke’s Bay
Nelson Marlborough
South Canterbury
Southern
West Coast

 

Where do I need to go to be vaccinated?

If you are a border or MIQ worker, you will be vaccinated during your workday, either at your place of work or nearby.

 

How do I organise an appointment to receive the vaccine?

You will be contacted to organise a vaccination time.

For Auckland and Northland border and MIQ workers:

  • An initial email will be sent to make an appointment for your vaccinations.
  • You will be sent a reminder email and text message for your vaccinations before you are due to receive them.
  • If you need to change the date, time, or location for your vaccination you can do this through the Vaccination Booking System: https://bookings.immunisation.nmf.nz
  • You will receive an email and text message to confirm any changes that you make.

We encourage you to discuss this appointment time with your manager to make sure it fits with your work commitments.

If you are not contacted to organise an appointment, please let your employer know.

 

When will my close/household contacts get the vaccine?

When you receive your appointment, you will also be sent a link to an online form that you can use to provide the details of the people you live with. They will also be offered the vaccine.

Please get their permission before you share their details.

If you are unable to access the online form, you can call 0800 282 926.

 

How do my close/household contacts organise an appointment to receive the vaccine?

Their details will be added to the COVID-19 Immunisation Register, and they will be contacted at a later date to be vaccinated.

 

How many doses of the vaccine will I need?

You will need two doses, each given around three weeks apart. To ensure you have the best protection, make sure you get both doses of the vaccine.

 

How long will it take to receive the vaccine?

After receiving the vaccine, you will need to remain behind for 30 minutes just as a precaution to make sure you do not have any immediate allergic or other adverse reactions to the vaccine.

 

Will my work pay for the time it takes to receive the vaccine?

Any time off required due to the vaccine should be paid at your normal hourly rate.

This could include:

  • waiting time before and after receiving the vaccine
  • time off if more is required after receiving the vaccine
  • time off to assist dependants to get vaccinate

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

The vaccines are being authorised through Medsafe prior to release in New Zealand. We also have the benefit of learning from international experiences with the vaccines as well.

International experience is providing real time information which may change what we know about the vaccines as we go along.

 

If I get the vaccine, can I still get COVID-19?

At this time, the vaccines are known to protect the person who has been vaccinated.

While none of the vaccines can give 100% protection, they will be of benefit to you. It means should you get COVID-19, it will have a lesser effect on you if you have received the vaccine (similar to how the ‘flu jab works).

From an essential worker perspective, it is important to get vaccinated to keep as well as possible.

 

If I get the vaccine, can I still spread COVID-19?

There’s no evidence yet that the vaccine will stop transmission. However, vaccinations are essential for New Zealanders to build up a good level of immunity to the virus in the population.

This means that even people who haven’t been vaccinated are less likely to get sick, due to lower levels of COVID-19 in the community overall.

 

Who do I go to if I have questions about the vaccine?

If you have questions or concerns about the vaccine, you are best to speak to your GP or to call Healthline.

 

Can I refuse to be vaccinated?

Yes. You also have the right to representation if you do experience harassment or discrimination because of your choice not to be vaccinated.

E tū’s ability to be successful in defending your decision will depend on the risk level of your personal situation for the people around you. Of course, that can change depending on whether there is an outbreak.

 

What happens if I don’t want to/refuse to be vaccinated?

While you have a right to refuse vaccination, your employer must assess your risk and the risk posed to other workers, customer and the public, as per the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. Employers are obligated to eliminate, isolate, or minimise that risk.

That could include a change of your role, hours of work or location. If this is the case, it is essential to understand the reasons for the refusal and the risk to yourself and others.

E tū strongly suggests you seek medical advice from your own personal doctor (GP) or Healthline before refusing to be vaccinated. For more, see MBIE’s guidance around vaccination and work HERE.

 

Can I be fired for refusing the vaccine?

In her press conference on 12 February, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that no one can be fired for refusing to be vaccinated. Employers also cannot require an individual to be vaccinated.

However, employers can require a specific role be performed by a vaccinated person. If you refuse to be vaccinated, your employer must assess your risk and the risk to other workers, customers and the public as per the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, as above.

E tū strongly suggests you seek medical advice from your own personal doctor (GP) or Healthline before refusing to be vaccinated. For more, see MBIE’s guidance around vaccination and work HERE.

I have a medical condition and not sure if I can be vaccinated.

We suggest you check in with your own personal doctor (GP). If you are medically unable to be vaccinated, please ask your GP to provide evidence of this and let your manager know.

 

Do I still need to wear PPE at work?

Yes. You must still follow all PPE requirements and continue to track your movements using the COVID-19 Tracer app.

 

Does E tū think vaccination should be mandatory?

We do not support mandatory vaccination and will not tolerate discrimination against workers who choose not to vaccinate. E tū also does not condone harassment and breaches of privacy regarding workers’ medical lives.

Employers should encourage and educate their workers about the vaccine. The purpose of this education is to increase workers’ understanding of the vaccine they will receive.

 

What role will E tū play in the Government’s vaccination rollout?

The Government requires employers to engage with union delegates, health and safety representatives and the wider work force.

E tū delegates will play an important role in making sure workers have the information they need about the vaccine and feel comfortable to receive it.

This includes addressing any concerns about the vaccine or the vaccination process.

As a union, E tū will continually update its platforms as new information becomes available and ensure that links to government information in other languages is provided.

 

Where can I find out more?

How to get your vaccination – for Border and MIQ workers: CLICK HERE
After your COVID-19 immunisation: CLICK HERE
COVID-19 rollout summary: CLICK HERE
Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment – Employment and COVID-19 vaccination: CLICK HERE
Ministry of Health – COVID-19 vaccines: CLICK HERE
Unite Against COVID-19 – COVID-19 vaccines: CLICK HERE

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