With mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations required for all care and support workers, including family/whānau caring for someone in the same home, we were joined by representatives from the Ministry of Health for our Facebook livestream to answer customer questions.
Want to watch the livestream? You can find it on our Facebook page
The Ministry later answered some more of our customer questions:
Q: Can I hire someone who is unvaccinated?
Answer: Under the Health Order, an unvaccinated person cannot be legally employed to deliver care and support. If you hire an unvaccinated person, you are breaching the Health Order which is law, and subjecting yourself to fines and/or prosecution under the Health and Safety at Work act.
Q: How do I get a vaccine certificate for my disabled child? (No ID other than a Birth cert)
Answer: You can use the card you are given when you are vaccinated as proof, you can ask your GP for proof, and you can go to My Covid Record here: https://app.covid19.health.nz/
Q: If you are the employer, are you required to be vaccinated?
Answer: Under the Order you are required to be vaccinated if you are paid to provide care and support directly to a person. If not, you are not required to be vaccinated.
Q: For staff who choose not to be vaccinated can we use PPE , saliva tests and regular PCR tests?
Answer: Under the Health Order, people who are unvaccinated need to be stood down on November 15 (Monday) if they are not vaccinated. You should not therefore employ people who are not vaccinated in direct care and support roles. Manawanui is still ordering PPE, and we are working to provide saliva testing, but this is not to replace vaccination.
Q: Will the MOH help us find residential or hospital level care for our children?
Answer: The MOH have advised us that if anyone needs care and support to first contact their NASC, who will help arrange either formal Home and Community Support Services (a formal Home Care provider), or other supports as required
Why was the Health Order Changed?
One of the questions that we and other IF Hosts and Providers in the sector have asked was why the Health Order was changed from the original version (which exempted paid family in the same home). The background explanation we received (quoted verbatim) was this:
The amendment to the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021 was made to provide clarity for paid care and support workers who are whānau. It was noted that the original wording was inconsistent with the Government’s response to the Family Carers litigation.
The Family Carers litigation found that the policy of not paying family carers to support disabled people was inconsistent with the Human Rights Act 1993 and could not be justified under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. This Government’s general response to the litigation is to treat family members who are paid care and support workers the same as other care and support workers.
Requiring all people who are employed or engaged as care and support workers to be vaccinated is consistent with the government’s overall policy of having a workforce that is vaccinated against COVID-19 and is consistent with the Government’s overall response to the Family Carers’ litigation. It also removes the risk of recreating policies that may be found to be inconsistent with the Human Rights Act 1993. Some family members who are paid care and support workers may consider that this means they are being forced to be vaccinated. This requirement, however, flows from the litigation seeking to be treated the same as other paid carers.
If any of you have questions and/or feedback on this, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org