Doctors aren't the only ones standing up for vaccination. Nurses, midwives and pharmacists have joined the initiative, and have published their own open letters in support of vaccination for COVID-19, and are also collecting signatures.
Midwives' Open Letter
View the midwives' open letter and website here. If you are a midwife, you can sign.
Open letter to hapū wāhine, pregnant women, pregnant people, whānau and families welcoming a new pēpi/baby(ies) about the Covid-19 vaccination from ngā Kaiwhakawhānau - the Midwives of Aotearoa.
Having a baby is a time when whānau come together to celebrate and support one another. Covid-19 has disrupted our lives and separated many families across the motu/country and the world. As the health professionals who support you at one of the most profound times in life, we know how vital it is for people to gather during hapūtanga/pregnancy and early parenting and we look forward to a time when this is possible for all of us again. Vaccination will help us to get there.
Every culture in the world knows that hapūtanga/pregnancy is a time when health is important. There are things we do and things we avoid to protect our growing pēpi. So it is understandable that people have questions about the safety of the Covid-19 vaccine during hapūtanga/pregnancy.
As kaiwhakawhānau/midwives, we want you to know that it is far safer to have the vaccine when you are pregnant, than it is to risk catching Covid-19. We strongly recommend that you get vaccinated if you are hapū/pregnant, breastfeeding, or lactating as soon as you can. We also recommend that everyone over 12 in your whānau is vaccinated.
This is because Covid-19 is already in our communities in Tāmaki Makau-Rau/Auckland, Waikato and Te Taitokerau and will find its way across Aotearoa. From our experience so far in Aotearoa, as well as in many countries overseas, we know that Covid-19 disease is more risky during pregnancy. Those who get Covid-19 delta while pregnant have a much higher chance of becoming severely unwell, having to be admitted to hospital for treatment, and being admitted to intensive care, than people of the same age who are not pregnant. Having Covid-19 during pregnancy also means a higher chance of needing to have a caesarean section because the māmā/birthing parent is so unwell, and a higher chance of the pēpi being born preterm and having to be admitted to a neonatal unit. This means the new pēpi is separated from whānau who usually can't visit because of the risk of infection.
The Covid-19 vaccination protects māmā/birthing parent and pēpi/baby, because the protective antibodies cross the placenta and also transfer to your wai ū / breastmilk / human milk. Being vaccinated with both doses protects you against needing to be hospitalised or admitted to intensive care with Covid-19 delta infection. By reducing the likelihood of severe Covid infection so much, it also protects pēpi/babies from being born prematurely, and supports the new whānau to stay together and be well, as they should be.
If you have questions about the Covid-19 vaccine during pregnancy or when feeding your pēpi, please ask your midwife, or call the Immunisation Advisory Centre on 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863), or ask another trusted health professional.
View the nurses' open letter and website here. If you are a nurse, you can sign. It is helpful if you can provide your nursing council registration number.
This letter is written on behalf of "Nurses of Aotearoa New Zealand Supporting Vaccination". We are united in supporting the call to all eligible people living in Aotearoa New Zealand to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Our group contains leaders in nursing, front-line nurses, vaccinators, and more.
We have seen the overseas experience of COVID-19 and the many lives lost or diminished by the long-term impacts of COVID-19. We have observed the extraordinary stresses that COVID-19 has placed on those health care systems, and the people who work in those systems. We grieve that so many of our international nursing colleagues as well as other health care workers have lost their lives trying to fight this disease. In Aotearoa New Zealand, we too have seen that nobody is safe when COVID-19 is loose in the community, that here too nurses and other health workers have contracted the disease, and that the majority of those who contract community COVID infections are the Tangata Whenua and populations who already suffer under inequitable systems of health care.
Now with the Delta variant currently in the community, we would like to thank the many, many people in New Zealand who have already been vaccinated or who have booked for their vaccination. This reveals again the willingness of people to support each other in these difficult times, as does people's compliance with the very necessary lockdowns and the temporary restrictions on freedom of movement that have kept New Zealand free of COVID-19 for so long. Nurses applaud this hard work that has kept us all safe.
However, we are also aware of a great deal of misinformation circulating about COVID-19 and the safety of the Pfizer vaccination, as well as other COVID vaccinations. It can be hard to find evidence-based advice and we support the FAQs developed by Doctors Stand Up For Vaccination that provide authoritative answers on the many questions people may have. We additionally support measures that address equitable access to the vaccine, particularly for Māori and Pacific peoples.
We speak now to people who are still to be vaccinated. We overwhelmingly support vaccination as the evidence demonstrates it is safe and that any side effects are in the main quite minor. Major side effects do sometimes occur, but we are reassured that they occur rarely. Furthermore, many of the events that can occur as serious side effects of vaccination happen far more frequently when people contract COVID-19. In other words, while there is small risk of complications attached to vaccination, the same complications happen far more often when people get COVID-19.
Not only do we support vaccination, we also support the use of proven public health measures such as wearing masks in public areas, physical distancing, and hand hygiene with appropriate antibacterial products. When we all undertake these measures, we do so for all - for our whānau, friends, colleagues, and the wider community. We also protect our ability to address the other health care needs of our community rather than become overwhelmed by COVID-19.
By following this advice, we ensure our country is safe.
View the pharmacist open letter and website here. If you are a pharmacist, you can sign. You will need your pharmacy council number.
A letter from Pharmacists to the people of Aotearoa New Zealand: This letter is written on behalf of the undersigned pharmacists of Aotearoa New Zealand.
We wish to present a united and evidence-based voice to the people of Aotearoa New Zealand in support of vaccination against COVID-19 for all eligible New Zealanders.
Our large group consists of Public Health Pharmacists, Community Pharmacists, Hospital Pharmacists, Clinical Pharmacists, Pharmaceutical Scientists, Academic/Research Pharmacists, Locum Pharmacists, Regulatory Affairs Pharmacists, Pharmacist Prescribers and many more.
We feel that there is a lot of mis-information that circulates in Social Media regarding Covid-19, and this presents an enormous challenge for the general public to receive sound and evidence-based information regarding mass vaccination. Especially with the recent outbreak of the Delta variant of Covid-19, We want everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand to know our collective voice, our collective views, and our collective support for Vaccination against Covid-19 and other public health measures such as the use of face mask, good hygiene and social distancing.
We would like to thank our communities who have come out in numbers to get vaccinated at their local pharmacies across New Zealand. Thank you for your support and vote of confidence!
As a country, we have a choice. This choice will help and support our families whānau, friends, work colleagues and our community to protect one another by getting vaccinated. By following this advice from the collective pharmacist community, we are confident that the general public will work as a team to ensure our country is safe for many generations to come.
Kia kaha Aotearoa: we will get through this together !