For Family Members
Why should I get myself or my loved one vaccinated against COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a contagious virus which has affected over 110 million people worldwide. It is responsible for the deaths of over 3 million people.
COVID-19 is particularly dangerous for older adults and people with compromised immune systems. The evidence is sobering and the majority of people who have died from COVID-19 in New Zealand have been over 60. More than half lived in aged residential care homes. (University of Auckland)
Once COVID-19 enters a care home it spreads rapidly across residents and staff. It causes serious, life threatening complications and it is critical we keep it out of Radius Care facilities. Vaccination against COVID-19 reduces the transmission of the disease.
Is it still easy to spread the disease, even with other people already being vaccinated?
It is easy for anyone with COVID-19 to spread the disease to friends, family, and others. COVID-19 is particularly problematic in the aged care sector as older adults are at increased risk of dying from COVID-19. (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention)
The evidence is sobering and the majority of people who have died from COVID-19 in New Zealand have been over 60. More than half lived in aged residential care homes. (University of Auckland)
This means being protected from getting sick is important because while some may only manifest a mild illness, in others, COVID-19 may cause severe illness, long-term health effects, or death. (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention)
Evidence also shows COVID-19 has long-term impacts even for those who have recovered. These include lung and kidney injury, shortness of breath, cardiovascular problems, neurological impacts (including problems with concentration and memory) and impacts on mental health. (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention)
Once COVID-19 enters a care home it spreads rapidly across residents and staff. Vaccination against COVID-19 reduces the transmission of the disease.
I’m not a resident but my parent is, does that mean should I get vaccinated?
The Ministry of Health says, “Maximising uptake of the vaccine will ensure we keep as many people as safe and protected as possible.” Your actions protect the people around you, particularly those who are at increased risk of death or severe illness from COVID-19.
An important value at Radius Care is compassion, and our staff are demonstrating this by getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and preventing the spread of this potentially lethal virus.
Do I need to be vaccinated to enter a facility?
No. Visitation is dependent on the Government alert levels, any community cases, the Ministry of Health guidelines and Radius Care Covid response guidelines around visitation at the time.
Can I just keep wearing PPE instead of having the vaccine?
Wearing masks and social distancing helps reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough as they don’t give the same level of protection that the vaccine does. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body is ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention)
Do I need to be vigilant about hygiene after I’m vaccinated?
Yes, other viruses are also dangerous to older adults and people with underlying health issues. It is also an important reminder that the vaccines are not a substitute for good hygiene practices of washing hands, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, wearing masks or face coverings and other precautions, including PPE. (Ministry of Health)
When will the vaccine be available to Radius Care residents?
The aged care industry is part of the second tier of vaccinations starting in late March and running through until May 2021. (Ministry of Health)
Which vaccine is it?
Residents will receive the Pfizer/BioNTech (also known as the Comirnaty) vaccine. It has been approved to use in New Zealand for people 16 years and older. It is given in 2 doses, usually to the upper arm, about 3 weeks apart. (Ministry of Health)
Will I have a choice, or can I choose which vaccine to use?
No. The four vaccines New Zealand has secured are going through the approval process at different times. The Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty) vaccine is the only vaccine that is currently available for use in New Zealand. (Ministry of Health)
Who will administer the vaccine?
Depending on your location, your local DHB will send a vaccination team to the Radius Care facility to administer the vaccine. Facility managers are in contact with the DHBs for scheduling but each Radius Care facility will have a different vaccination visit date. Check with your facility about when your vaccinators will be on site.
What are the side effects of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (Comirnaty)?
The majority of people will only experience a mild reaction after being injected, particularly after the second dose. These reactions commonly include pain at the injection site, fatigue and a headache. You should know that these reactions are normal and it is a sign that the body is building protection against the virus and the immune response is kicking in. (Ministry of Health)
Can the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (Comirnaty) make people sick with COVID-19?
No. Unlike traditional vaccines that introduce weakened or inactivated versions of the virus, the the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (Comirnaty) vaccines do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. That means that it is not possible for the vaccine to make you sick with COVID-19. (Ministry of Health)
The general consensus is that people who have underlying health conditions can have the vaccine. Indeed, it may be more important that people with serious health conditions receive the vaccine due to a higher risk of serious COVID-19 complications. However, this decision should be made in consultation with a medical doctor.
Can I take the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (Comirnaty) if I have allergies?
The vaccines currently available do not contain the allergens of eggs, preservatives, or latex. People who normally have an allergic reactions to the those products can take these vaccinations.
People who should avoid the vaccine are:
- Anyone that has had a prior severe or immediate allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine
- A previous allergic reaction to polyethylene glycol (PEG) or polysorbate
Is the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (Comirnaty) effective?
Clinical trials have shown that the Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty) vaccine is highly effective at preventing COVID-19. The trials show that it's approximately 95% effective against symptomatic COVID-19, seven days after receiving two doses. (Ministry of Health)
Research also shows that when people have developed COVID-19 after being vaccinated they do not become seriously ill when compared to people who have not have the vaccine.
How long does it take to work?
It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity (protection against the virus that causes COVID-19) following the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (Comirnaty). That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and still get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection. (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention)
Should I be concerned about how quickly the vaccine was developed?
Collaboration by international governments and the private sector around the world has enabled COVID-19 vaccines to be developed more quickly than usual, but the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (Comirnaty) has gone through the same rigorous testing standards as any other vaccination and this was tested on thousands of people before being approved. (Ministry of Health)
If I have already had COVID-19 do I still need to be vaccinated?
Yes. Getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection but reinfection is possible. Current evidence suggests that natural immunity may not last very long. Even if you have some natural immunity, the risk of reinfection and any resulting severe illness far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity. (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention)