IDEA COVID-19 vaccinations start with frontline workers
COVID-19 vaccinations are being offered to New Zealanders in stages so that people at high risk get the vaccine first, including our frontline workers.
Some have already been vaccinated. One of the first was Laura Brown-Thomas, a Support Worker in Hutt Valley. She says it was an easy decision, and a simple and painless process.
“We’re on the front line – our job is working with vulnerable people, protecting them in this pandemic,” says Laura. “Whether New Zealand is COVID-19-free or not right now, it’s important to protect each other.”
Across the IHC Group we aim to make sure that everyone is supported and informed about the COVID-19 vaccination. Our support workers and service managers have been talking with the people we support to help them understand COVID-19 and decide if they want to be vaccinated. We are also using Easy Read documents and social stories and having discussions with families.
IDEA Services will inform the Ministry of Health about how many people in our services are choosing to get the vaccine. For people supported by IDEA Services the vaccine is available through:
- Their local GPs – IDEA Services will organise and support people with this.
- Hubs or safe zones – these might be at our locations.
- Home-based visits – depending on demand, people in our residential services could potentially be visited at home by vaccinators.
Joan Cowan, Chief Operating Officer IDEA Services, says it is crucial that the right consents are in place. “We need to know whether the person has the capacity and understanding to safely consent, or if there is a Welfare Guardian who can consent on their behalf.
“For the people we support who choose not to get the vaccine, we will ensure there is a plan in place to reduce the risk for them from COVID-19 where we can.
“We are encouraging as many people as possible to get immunised so that we keep other people safe.”
The Ministry of Health is providing guidance on supported decision-making to cover people who are unable to consent or do not have Welfare Guardians.
“The COVID-19 vaccination, and the COVID-19 pandemic, are unlike anything New Zealand or the rest of the world has seen before,” says Joan. “By getting the vaccine, we are each doing our part to minimise the risk of infection.”
If you are a family member of someone in our services and you have any questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, please contact your GP or get in touch with the Clinical Team – Nursing at firstname.lastname@example.org – we are here to help.
In addition to the COVID-19 vaccine, the influenza vaccine is now available. We have offered free flu vaccinations to all staff. We are working with the Ministry of Health to determine how many people in our services are also choosing to get the flu vaccine. To make sure that both of these vaccinations are effective, and to keep people safe, it is recommended that there is a minimum of 14 days between the two vaccinations. This means people can have their flu vaccinations before or after both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, as long as they wait those 14 days. You cannot have your flu vaccination between your two COVID-19 vaccination injections.
Caption: Hutt Valley Support Worker Laura Brown-Thomas says the decision to get a COVID-19 vaccination is about protecting each other.