MND & COVID-19 Vaccinations

Given the current situation with COVID-19 in New Zealand, people are being encouraged to have their vaccinations as soon as they are eligible.

People with MND are eligible for vaccination now, regardless of what age group they fall into. MND New Zealand and James Cleland medical advisor, have put together this page providing information about the COVID-19 vaccination for those living with MND, taking information provided from The Ministry of Health.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to get in touch with your support team member.

Questions & Information about the Vaccine

I have MND, should I get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

The advice we have received from our medical advisor Dr James Cleland, is that there is no risk to those with MND above any other person of the same age in getting the vaccine, and he strongly recommends that those living with MND get vaccinated.

You can find more information about the COVID -19 vaccine for people with underlying health conditions here.

While there is some debate at present as to how well this vaccine covers the new strains, it is likely that those who are vaccinated will have better protection than those who are not vaccinated.

We recognise that some people have anxiety about the safety of these vaccines. While some may feel they have not been adequately tested, the process of vaccine selection has been rigorous and is outlined here.

 

Should my family, whanau, and carers get the vaccine?

While it is not known if a person can still pass the virus on after they have been vaccinated, it is known that the vaccine will reduce the risk of someone contracting COVID-19. If they do contract the virus then they are less likely to become seriously ill from it. It is advisable that your carers and family members do have the vaccination.

 

How does the vaccine work?

The COVID-19 vaccine stimulates your body’s immune system to produce antibodies and other proteins that will fight the virus if you’re exposed to it. This reduces the risk of getting infected and if you do get COVID-19, it means you could have no symptoms or will have much fewer, milder symptoms and recover faster.

 

Can I still catch COVID-19 if I have had both vaccines?

As with any vaccine, the Pfizer vaccine (Comirnaty) may not fully protect everyone who gets it. However, it is highly effective if people have both doses. That means, if you do catch COVID-19, you’re far less likely to fall seriously ill and less likely to transmit the virus to others.

Studies have shown that about 95% of people who received both doses of the vaccine were protected against getting seriously ill.

 

Will the vaccine stop me from passing COVID-19 on to others?

While the data is clear that vaccines protect people from the effects of COVID-19, research is ongoing to determine whether a vaccinated person could still transmit the virus to someone else – so to be safe, we must assume there is still a risk of transmission.

 

Are there side effects from the vaccine?

Like all medicines, the vaccine may cause side effects in some people. Most side effects are mild and don’t last long. Side effects are more common after the second dose. Some common side effects include:

  • pain or swelling at the injection site
  • feeling tired or fatigued
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • chills
  • joint pain
  • fever
  • redness at the injection site
  • nausea

More information about the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccination can be found here.

 

Should I have my flu injection as well as the COVID-19 vaccination?

Yes you should still have your flu injection but you will need to allow at least two weeks between the COVID-19 vaccine and the influenza (flu) vaccine.

You can either get both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine first (these doses are given at least three weeks apart) and then your flu vaccine from two weeks after your second dose. Or you can get your flu vaccination first, but you will then need to wait two weeks before having your first COVID-19 vaccination.

 

How do I book my COVID-19 vaccination?

You can expect a booking invitation from the Ministry of Health or your health provider. Invites could come by text, email, phone call or letter. You may receive more than one invitation; if you've already booked your appointments or received your vaccinations, you can ignore these.

If you’re eligible, you don’t have to wait for an invitation in order to book. You can book online at Book My Vaccine

This is the quickest way to make your vaccination appointments. Currently, you can book online in English and te reo Māori.

If you were invited to book before 28 July, you may have been given an access code.

This code is not needed to book anymore, just go to Book My Vaccine and confirm you're either aged 40 or over, or in Group 1, 2, or 3.

The Ministry of Health believe that the cost and the ability to leave your home should not be a barrier to people getting a vaccination and have systems in place to support people to get a COVID-19 vaccination or test. When you book your vaccination, you will be asked questions regarding your ability to travel to get your vaccination and whether you need support with this. There are also mobile vaccination teams available to provide vaccination at home for those who are not able to leave their home, you just need to ask about this when you book.                                                                                                      

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your support team member if you have any questions or concerns.