COVID-19 vaccine FAQs

 

Aotearoa New Zealand has embarked on its largest ever vaccination campaign, which will provide free COVID-19 vaccines for everyone over the age of 16 years old.

UC supports the aims of the COVID-19 vaccination strategy and will act in accordance with NZ employment and health and safety laws, government guidelines and directives to ensure our people can get vaccinated without being disadvantaged.

UC strongly encourages staff and students to get the COVID-19 vaccination, once they are eligible. Everyone will be eligible to book their vaccination from 1 September 2021. Visit the Government’s COVID-19 website for more>

The vaccination is voluntary but it’s worth remembering that when you get vaccinated, you’re not just protecting yourself. You’re also doing your bit by reducing the risk of passing on COVID-19 to your whānau, friends and community.

The vaccine is not available from the UC Health Centre. You will be able to choose the vaccination centre most convenient to you, once you’ve been notified (from the Ministry of Health or District Health Board) that you are eligible to receive the vaccination.

Vaccination FAQs:

FAQ 1: When will I get my vaccination? 
On Thursday 12 August, the government confirmed that everyone will be able to book their vaccination from 1 September. 

Visit the Government’s COVID-19 website for more>

FAQ 2: Can I get my vaccination at the UC Health Centre?
The vaccine is not available from the UC Health Centre.
You are able to choose the vaccination centre most convenient to you, once you’ve been notified (from the Ministry of Health or District Health Board) that you are eligible to receive your vaccination.

FAQ 3: Will there be a mass vaccination event at UC?
The Ministry of Health have confirmed they have no plans to hold mass vaccination events in the South Island. See more here>

FAQ 4: What else can I do to reduce the risk of getting COVID-19?
That vaccination supports, but does not replace, other infection prevention and control measures such as the use of personal protective equipment and cleaning, physical distancing, personal hygiene, and use of the NZ COVID tracer app. [Ministry of Health]

FAQ 5: Can I get my vaccination done during work hours?
In alignment with our organisational values, the University will support you to receive your vaccination, by allowing you to get vaccinated during work hours, without using annual leave or losing pay.  This also applies if you need to take your dependents to get vaccinated.

You don’t have to tell your manager that you are getting vaccinated unless you want to. Just let them know you have a medical appointment you need to go to. 

FAQ 6: Do I have to get vaccinated to do my job or work-experience placement?
Vaccinations are voluntary and are not required for most work. There may be some roles that should only be performed by a vaccinated person however, due to the risk of transmitting the virus to vulnerable people.

Risk assessments should be conducted for roles that are identified as high-risk, to determine if the role can only be performed by a vaccinated person. This may impact on UC employees and students engaging in work-integrated learning, field work, and contract-based work in high-risk environments.

Click here for information on assessing whether a specific role needs to be performed by a vaccinated worker>

UC will not require employees or students to provide information on their vaccination status unless they are in a role that can only be done by a vaccinated person.

If an employee or student is unvaccinated or does not wish to be vaccinated but is working/learning in a role that can only be performed by a vaccinated person, this will need to be worked through by the employee/student, the University of Canterbury, and the relevant union.

If you think you are in a role that should only be performed by a vaccinated person, please discuss this with your manager. If this situation applies, managers should contact their People and Culture Business Partner to complete a risk assessment. 

FAQ 7: Can I travel overseas for work yet?
Refer to section two of the COVID-19 Information page: ‘travel recommendations for staff and students.

FAQ 8: What about personal overseas travel?
UC cannot impose restrictions on personal travel. Personal travel is undertaken at the risk of the traveller; however, the University strongly recommends travellers be fully vaccinated before they travel overseas. 

Being fully vaccinated should reduce your risk of getting or transmitting COVID-19, and the impact on your health if you do. 

FAQ 9: What happens if borders close while I’m travelling overseas?
Before booking any overseas trip, you should consider that borders might close unexpectedly and plan what you would do in this situation.

You should also consider what you would do if you had to go into Managed Isolation Quarantine (MIQ).

  1. Ensure you have enough annual leave to cover you for an unexpected, extended period of time off work. You might be able to work flexibly from overseas, home or MIQ if suitable work is available but only if you and your manager both agree to this. 
  2. If you don’t have enough annual leave available and working flexibly is not possible, you would be required to take leave without pay. 
  3. If you’re sick during any period of annual leave, self-isolation, or MIQ then you can apply for sick leave. If you don’t have enough sick leave, please speak to your manager.

FAQ 10: If I feel unwell from the COVID-19 vaccination am I expected to come to work?
Sick leave may be taken if you feel unwell following the COVID-19 vaccination. Alternatively, you can work flexibly from home if that’s possible in your role; UC will support you to do this. If you don’t have enough sick leave available, please speak to your manager.

FAQ 11: Should I be concerned about working around unvaccinated people? 
A person’s vaccination status is private and confidential, unless they are working in a role that can only be done by a vaccinated person. This means that in most cases UC will not know if a person has been vaccinated so public health precautions, such as physical distancing, handwashing/sanitizing, cleaning regimes etc. continue to be important.

In general, unless a vaccination is needed for health and safety reasons, work is unlikely to be unsafe solely because it is done around unvaccinated workers. If you have strong concerns you may be at risk, please speak to your manager. 

Remember that vaccinated people are less likely to get the virus, transmit the virus, or get very unwell from the virus.   

FAQ 12: What should I do if I’m feeling unwell?
At this time of the year, there are a number of respiratory viruses doing the rounds in the community. Some of the symptoms of these viruses will be similar to COVID-19 symptoms. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever; dry cough; and tiredness.

See UC’s COVID-19 Information page for all this and more>

If you are sick, stay home and call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for health advice and information on what to do next.