Kia ora koutou Aidanfield whanau
It is interesting times we live in – and that is not a surprising comment anymore. As we face the issues of a global pandemic we are each challenged to find good information, to work out who to trust, to adapt our lifestyles and patterns of living around interruptions and requirements that are foreign to us. We plan for events in the future with a sense of uncertainty now knowing that what plans have been made may be changed by issues outside of our control and this brings with it its own subtle pressures. It also means we need to be light on our feet and ready to adapt in a moment.
Our school has a diverse family community. So many of our families have family overseas who you have not seen recently due to the restrictions at our borders and for you, this is a challenge and no doubt you are missing those that you would usually see face to face. At some stage in the future, there will be the chance to travel again and many of us are looking forward to that day.
Because of the challenge of planning for the future or uncertainty we have taken the decision to make a change to our end-of-year events.
Prizegiving – End of Year Change
Under Alert Level 2 we are not able to have groups of more than 100 together. This means we cannot run our end-of-year Prizegiving. If we are at Alert Level 1 we could but we do not know that we will be at that level in December. So, our leadership team have taken the decision to plan with as much certainty as we can, essentially taking control of his decision now. We will not be running our big end-of-year assembly this year.
What we will be doing is running a school-based assembly at the beginning of the day (Wednesday 15 December). We will award our school-wide prizes at this assembly and invited parents of prize getters will be able to attend. We will then run Learning Community level assemblies through the rest of the day, one after the other. Parents of each learning level will be able to come to those events as this will mean we have less than 100 parents at each Prizegiving. It does mean it is hard for those that work during the day to attend and we acknowledge this issue.
At the end of each Learning Community Prizegiving, the pupils from that Prizegiving will be able to go home and that will be the end of their school year. For those that cannot go home, they will be supervised at school until the end of the day.
There will be NO big gathering at Lincoln Events Centre at the end of this year. We hope to be able to get back to a full community celebration in 2022. At this stage, we need to work with what we know. Because of the time it takes to organise the big event, even if we shift to Alert Level 1 later this term, we will still do our adapted Prizegiving plan with no big event.
More detail will come out regarding the specific times of each Learning Community event later this term, as we plan a new way forward.
Vaccinations and Aidanfield Christian School
It is becoming apparent that vaccinations are becoming the system by which everyone will be able to participate more widely in the community in the years to come. The government has made it clear that restrictions will be in place for those that are not vaccinated. The message is that vaccinations are the only way that we, as a national and local community are able to keep people safe from the effects of Covid 19 as we currently know it while maintaining some semblance of ‘normal’ life.
As a school, we are waiting to hear the detail of what the Minister of Education’s statements mean about adults that work in schools and vaccinations. At this point, we are able to say that the school will be fully compliant with the Government directives under the Public Health Order. We are a state-funded Crown entity and as such we are obliged to follow the law and this we will do as an expression of our faith while it does not compromise our faith. From the start of 2022, Aidanfield will be compliant with the Public Health Order in regards to vaccinations.
Vaccinations and Your Families Personal Choices
At the end of last term, I encouraged each family to ensure it was looking at solid information on vaccinations and to make personal choices based on solid and reliable information. I have been a little surprised at how often people have referred to stories that a friend of a friend or family member talks about an individual scenario. In my mind, this is not reliable information that captures a full range of issues. Can I encourage you to consider the information from the following if you are still determining your approach to the vaccination question. The following information is collated by the Ministry of Education and Health. There are a lot of sources that you could reference in your decision-making journey.
How does the vaccine work?
The COVID-19 vaccine works by teaching your body to fight the virus and protects you from
- The vaccine sends a set of instructions to teach your body how to fight the COVID-19 virus.
- With these instructions, your body learns to recognise the COVID-19 virus and use antibodies against it. Antibodies stop the virus from infecting your cells and help to kill it.
- That means if you come into contact with the COVID-19 virus in the future, your body will have the right tools to protect itself so you are less likely to get sick.
Is the vaccine safe?
The Pfizer vaccine has been thoroughly assessed for safety by our own Medsafe experts.
Medsafe only grants consent for using a vaccine in Aotearoa once they’re satisfied it has met strict standards for safety, efficacy and quality.
This is the same process used to assess other vaccines, like the flu, measles, and tetanus vaccines. There have been no shortcuts taken in granting approval.
The Pfizer vaccine has been used successfully by millions worldwide and is highly effective at preventing severe illness and death. It continues to be monitored for safety.
Why was it developed so quickly?
Because the mRNA vaccine is not new technology and has been studied for over a decade, including for the development of other vaccines such as the seasonal flu vaccine, researchers had a head start.
This is the first time scientists and governments from around the world have united to develop a vaccine. This global collaboration meant they could spend an enormous amount of time and money into developing the vaccines very quickly without taking any shortcuts in the necessary processes or compromising safety. This also meant that the various stages of research development happened at the same time.
What I can expect when I get the vaccine?
You can book through your GP or through vaccination centres:
- Book online through Book My Vaccine
- For a group booking, call the COVID Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26(8am-8pm)
When you arrive to receive your vaccination, the vaccinator will offer you the opportunity to ask any questions.
You will need to relax and sit still. Some find it helpful to listen to music, or you may choose to have a support person with you.
The vaccinator will then inject the vaccine into your arm. You can look away or close your eyes if you need to. You may feel a pinch or scratch when the needle goes in.
You’ll then be asked to get your second dose of the vaccine six weeks or more after your first dose.
Are there any side effects?
It is common to experience mild side effects, such as muscle aches, pain at the injection site or headaches.
These are more commonly reported after the second dose and are actually a sign that your body’s immune system is learning to fight the virus. They don’t last long and won’t stop you from having a second dose or going about your daily life. There are some side effects that are more serious but very rare, like a severe allergic reaction or an inflammation of the heart. If you develop difficulty breathing, a racing heart, chest pain or feel faint immediately or in the days after the vaccine, you should seek medical attention.
Here are links to some downloadable PDFs:
- Getting the COVID-19 vaccine if you’re between 12-15 years old
- COVID-19 vaccination: Get the facts
- Your COVID-19 vaccination: Everything you need to know
The Unite Against COVID-19 website also has content about misinformation and scams which may also be helpful.
If you see something about COVID-19 or the vaccine that doesn’t seem right or if it’s on social media, you can report it to the platform. Anything else can be reported to CERT NZ.
Working through vaccine hesitancy
Here is a range of resources available to inform people who are anxious about the vaccine.
- Nigel Latta, Dr Maia Brewerton and Dr Helen Petousis-Harris recently answered questions in a Facebook live event.
- Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Dr Nikki Turner, Dr Siouxsie Wiles and Dr Vanisi Prescott recently answered questions about the COVID-19 Vaccine, moderated by Mihingarangi Forbes.
- Mihingarangi Forbes sat down with Dr Hinemoa Elder to discuss some key concerns and hesitancies.
- Vax Facts with Māori Doctors: Dr Anthony Jordan, Dr Papaarangi Reid, Dr Rawiri McKree-Jansen, Dr Maia Brewerton (specialists and activists in Māori health) take phone calls from the Public about Covid and the Vaccine. (Most callers are unvaccinated.)
- Clinical psychologist Rachel Prebbleexplains how to talk to friends and whānau in this video create an opportunity for open, safe conversations which build trust and enable change over time
- A fun and informative item on the Hahana Facebook page with answers to lots of vaccine questions.
- A rangatahi panel with Dr Jason Tuhoeto kōrero about the vaccine from different perspectives (vaccinated, vaccine-hesitant, wants to be vaccinated but whānau pressure not to).
- Watch a discussion between four health professionals where they share their thoughts, knowledge and experiences of the COVID vaccine in Straight Up with Dr. Lily Fraser – The Panel.
- Why some people struggle to change their minds about vaccination is a video and article in The Whole Truth series on Stuff.
- Talking to vaccine-hesitant people – an article on the World Health Organization website, also available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Portuguese and Spanish.
- A recent article in The Herald where University of Auckland vaccinologist Associate Professor Helen Petousis-Harris looks at 10 vaccine myths circulating on social media.
- In this The Spinoff article, Kate Hannah (a cultural historian at Te Pūnaha Matatini) shares some thoughts on how to talk to loved ones who are vaccine-hesitant.
Grace and peace