Covid 19 coronavirus: First MIQ worker’s message to her family

Today New Zealand’s first MIQ worker to receive the Covid-19 jab will go home to her family and tell them the vaccine is nothing to be afraid of.

Lynette Faiva, who works at the Jet Park family team, said her whānau were undecided about getting the vaccine but she wanted to share her experience with them.

“I didn’t feel anything. It was like a small prick … I’m going to tell them there is nothing to be afraid of, it doesn’t hurt and it was really easy,” Faiva said.

“I want them to feel confident about their decision.”

Faiva said it was a priviledge to be the first to receive the vaccine and she was grateful for the opportunity.

“It was about providing another layer of protection.”

At Jet Park, Faiva has been responsible for providing support to families while in managed quarantine. She organises games, educational activities and welfare support for them.

Working at Jet Park, where people who have tested positive for Covid-19 stay, meant she had to have protocols in place when she got home to her family.

“When I get home I can’t hug my family. I have to go jump in the shower first, get all my clothes off and put it in the laundry.

“Those are the things I have to follow through with when I go home because it would absolutely devastate me if I was to take the virus home with me and they would catch it.”

The MIQ worker spoke to media this afternoon with her colleagues Drew Leafa and Lorna Masoe who got the jab after her.

Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said today’s vaccinations of our dedicated border staff marks a significant step forward in the fight against Covid-19.

“A milestone that protects those at highest risk of getting the virus and helping to reduce the risk of spreading into the community.”

Bloomfield said we need to remember this pandemic is the most significant global public health challenge in a century and management it will require all our efforts for some time to come.

“Even though vaccinations have begun, it’s important everyone stays vigilant and sticks to the basics: staying home if unwell and getting advice about having a test, washing hands and coughing and sneezing into the elbow, and wearing masks or face coverings on all public transport.”

Dr Nikki Turner, director of the Immunisation Advisory Centre, said people keep asking her how safe the vaccine was and she wanted to reassure the public it was incredibly safe.

“We are confident about the safety of this vaccine … there is nothing to worry about with this vaccine,” Turner said.

About vaccines in New Zealand:

New Zealand has pre-purchased four vaccines, from firms Pfizer and BioNTech; Janssen Pharmaceutica; Novavax; and AstraZeneca.

The first agreement was for 1.5 million doses from Pfizer and BioNTech.

This is enough vaccines for 750,000 people, with each person needing two doses about a month apart.

An in-principle agreement has been signed with Janssen Pharmaceutica to purchase up to 5 million vaccines – likely to be a single dose.

In December, the Government signed a further agreement with Novavax to purchase 10.72 million doses of its vaccines – enough for two doses for 5.36 million people – but this isn’t expected until later this year.

The other deal signed in December would secure New Zealand 7.6 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine – enough for 3.8 million people.

Companies who make the vaccines say they are between 90 and 95 per cent effective.

Bloomfield has said that level of effectiveness not only protected people from severe illness or death but also symptomatic illness.

“The ongoing trials and the ongoing monitoring of people who have been vaccinated will give us an idea of how long the immunity might last but all the studies that are being done suggest that especially once people get that second dose they do have a good response and immunity does last for at least some months.”

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